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06/30/10 4:18 PM ET

Herrera sent down to make room for Wood

CINCINNATI -- To make room for the callup of starting pitcher Travis Wood, the Reds optioned lefty reliever Daniel Ray Herrera to Triple-A Louisville after Wednesday's 4-3 win vs. the Phillies.

It's been an inconsistent season for Herrera, who was 1-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 36 games but had 11 of his 39 inherited runners score. He retired 23 of 36 first batters faced.

Herrera spent all of 2009 in the big leagues and had a strong season. His roster spot seemed in peril for the last few weeks, but the writing was really on the wall once the Reds called up lefty reliever Bill Bray on Sunday.

"We sent him down there to get his act together and find his control," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Herrera. "Usually he's a guy that can throw wherever he wants to throw it. It seems like the last couple of months, he's been in and out with control and location. He will be back."

Wood called up to start Thursday

CINCINNATI -- The Reds called up lefty pitcher Travis Wood from Triple-A Louisville to start against the Cubs on Thursday afternoon.

For Wood, the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, this is his first big league promotion. The 23-year-old is 5-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 15 starts this season at Louisville, but has an 0.63 ERA over his past four starts.

"He deserves an opportunity, and we need him," manager Dusty Baker said on Wednesday morning.

Wood is taking the rotation spot of Sam LeCure, who was sent back to Louisville on Sunday. The Reds, via Louisville manager Rick Sweet, told Wood he was getting called up before the team left Norfolk, Va., before a trip to Durham, N.C.

"I knew it was going to come at some point, whether it was this year or at some point in the future," Wood said after the Reds' 4-3 win over the Phillies on Wednesday. "I just tried to go out every start and get better and keep myself ready to go."

In his 98 innings, Wood walked 23 and struck out 97. Walks hurt him in Spring Training when Wood was a candidate for the fifth spot that he narrowly lost to Mike Leake.

"I feel pretty good right now, " Wood said. "I feel like I'm throwing my pitches for strikes, having command of the zone and giving our team a chance to win."

Although the Phillies have a lefty-heavy lineup, there appeared to be only mild consideration for bringing Wood up Wednesday to pitch and moving scheduled starter Aaron Harang back one day to face Chicago.

"What message does that send to Aaron?" Baker said. "You'd have a David and Goliath situation with Wood. His first big league start would be against the Phillies and against [Roy] Halladay."

Baker defends decision to bat Leake

CINCINNATI -- Second-guessing was rampant among fans in Tuesday night's Reds loss to the Phillies, when manager Dusty Baker let Mike Leake bat for himself with a runner on second and two outs in the sixth inning.

With the Reds trailing, 6-1, at the time with runners on first and second and Ramon Hernandez batting, Scott Rolen was on deck for Leake. Then Hernandez hit a two-run double, Rolen was called back and Leake was sent to the plate even though he wasn't slated to return and pitch the top of the seventh. Leake, a .393 hitter at the time, flied out to end the inning.

"I didn't want to waste Scotty there, because they weren't going to throw Scotty nothing with first base open," Baker said. "The strong side of my bench was actually in the game already. I was down to [Paul] Janish, [Laynce] Nix, [Corky] Miller and I didn't want to use Nix in that situation, because I'd lose him against any righties. I was trying to save Scotty, because I knew they'd use [J.C.] Romero at some point in time.

"Plus, the fact is [Leake] can hit. Why would I waste Scott Rolen -- my top pinch-hitter in the sixth inning -- when I still have three innings to go? If they pitch around Scotty, I've lost Scotty. Now, I need him in the eighth or ninth inning, and they'll be like, 'How come you used Scotty in the sixth inning?'"

Baker realizes people regularly question and second-guess his decisions from the dugout.

"Especially when people are looking for something that you did wrong," Baker said. "It's easy when they're looking for something. They rarely look when you do something right, whatever right is. Right is what turns out right."

Worth noting

Manager Dusty Baker said no decision has been made on when to bring up Edinson Volquez, who had another strong rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday. Volquez could either get one or two more starts before returning to the big leagues. "It's not 'definitely' on one more," Baker said. "We want him overready instead of underready." ... The Reds on Wednesday began a stretch of five straight day games, their longest since April 8-13, 2006. ... Wednesday is the 40th anniversary of the opening of old Riverfront Stadium.

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