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08/31/09 7:35 PM ET

Reds make three moves before nightcap

Cueto activated from DL; Ramirez, Barker called up

CINCINNATI -- The Reds made three roster moves between games of Monday's day-night doubleheader vs. the Pirates. Pitcher Johnny Cueto was activated from the disabled list to start the nightcap for Cincinnati and reliever Ramon Ramirez and first baseman Kevin Barker were recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

To make room for the three arrivals, outfielder Laynce Nix was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bulging disc in his neck. Left-handed starter Matt Maloney was optioned to Double-A Carolina and reliever Carlos Fisher was optioned to Class A Sarasota.

The moves to the lower Minor Leagues for Maloney and Fisher were more procedural. Because Triple-A Louisville is headed for postseason play on Sept. 9, both players would have been required to stay for the minimum 10 days before a recall. By going to Carolina, Maloney can be recalled after its season ends on Sept. 7. Fisher can come back on Sept. 6.

Nix was scratched from Game 1 because of a sore neck. He was diagnosed with a bulging disc on Friday after undergoing an MRI. He is batting .251 with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs in 106 games this season.

Fisher has a 4.05 ERA in 34 games during what's been a mostly solid season. During Game 1 on Monday, he gave up two hits and the tying run in the top of the eighth before the Reds notched a 4-3 win in the bottom of the ninth. Saturday was his worst outing of the season when he faced five batters without recording an out and allowed five earned runs.

Maloney, who is 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA over four starts in two big league stints, was the losing pitcher on Saturday. He pitched six innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

Barker, who was sent down on Saturday to make roster space for Maloney, batted .364 (4-for-11) in nine games during his previous stint with Cincinnati. Ramirez was 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 games, including 20 starts for Louisville. He made one relief appearance for the Reds on May 12 and immediately returned to Triple-A.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.