08/10/11 7:45 PM ET
Ondrusek looking forward to returning
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Bullpen issues forced the move, after the Reds used five pitchers in Monday night's rain-delayed 10-7 loss to the Rockies. They brought up left-hander Travis Wood and disabled Ondrusek, who is 4-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 56 appearances. Reds manager Dusty Baker couldn't afford to head into Tuesday night's game with a short bullpen, even though Ondrusek was on the verge of returning.
As it turned out, Dontrelle Willis made the start and pitched eight innings of five-hit ball in a 3-2 loss, his longest outing in nearly four years. Who knew? All these developments probably will be a blessing in disguise for Ondrusek, who now doesn't have to rush back to action.
"The [94-minute] rain delay made us use the bullpen for six innings," said Ondrusek prior to Wednesday night's Game 3 of a four-game series against the Rockies at Great American Ball Park. "We couldn't afford to be short on Tuesday. I understand that. That's OK. It just gives me a little more time to improve, even though I probably would've been ready."
Still, with the season in the balance and the Reds trying to avoid oblivion in the National League Central, Ondrusek feels unsettled, because it's not a great time to be injured.
"Yeah, it's frustrating," he said. "Nobody ever likes to be put on the DL. Nobody ever likes to be hurt. It'll be good to just make sure everything is right. I want to be out there, but it could be one of the better things that happened. I don't want to sit around doing nothing. I want to help the team. It's going to be frustrating the next couple of weeks just watching. But hopefully by then, I'll be back into form and ready to get back into my spot."
Elbow contusion sidelines Phillips
CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was out of the lineup again on Wednesday night against the Rockies at Great American Ball Park, this time with a contusion of the left elbow, courtesy of a pitch thrown by Colorado's Esmil Rogers during the fourth inning on Tuesday.
Phillips said via his Twitter account -- @DatDudeBP -- that he expects to be out this time, "maybe five days."
Phillips, who played the entire 3-2 loss after missing a pair of starts because of a sprained right ankle, reported on Twitter that he "woke up today and my elbow looks like a balloon ... Can't fully extend it!!!! I think I need an X-ray... Please don't let it be broken."
It wasn't. Like Monday night, Paul Janish was in the lineup at second base and hitting eighth.
Phillips came off the bench on Monday, and opened the seventh inning with a long pinch-hit home run off Rockies reliever Rex Brothers to tie the score at the time. The Rox, though, won 10-7 on a two-run, eighth-inning answering shot by Carlos Gonzalez.
Phillips flipped his bat and pointed toward the Reds dugout at manager Dusty Baker. Apparently, Phillips had told Baker that he'd either homer or strikeout, and was simply acknowledging that fact. The Rockies seemed to have taken the gesture as some sort of slight.
Baker said he didn't remember specifically what Phillips had said.
"He might have told me that," Baker said about the homer or strikeout possibility. "Sometimes Brandon is rapping and you just say, 'OK.' It's true."
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said that Rogers wasn't throwing at Phillips, even though Tuesday's home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale thought differently and issued warnings to both benches, surprising the managers. The incident ended there.
"Lance was basically saying it was for everyone's protection, and I understand that," Tracy said. "The point that I wanted to make was in a 1-0 game in the third inning, we're not going to hit the leadoff hitter on purpose. That's absolutely a ludicrous thought, to think that we'd be throwing a pitch at Brandon Phillips in the bottom of the third inning, trailing 1-0. That's not a real good formula for success."
Asked if he thought it was a purpose pitch, Baker responded: "I don't even know what a purpose pitch is. It wasn't even a fastball, was it?"
Phillips, who's now hitting .287 with 11 homers and 63 RBIs in 109 games, said via his Twitter account that the X-rays were negative, but he had been given a pair of diagnoses: "Traumatic lateral epicondylitis, contusion to lateral extensor mechanism."
When told that Phillips said he was suffering from epicondylitis (pain in the tip of the elbow), Baker quipped: "Did he know how to spell it?"
The answer to that is yes.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.