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09/07/11 7:48 PM ET

Chapman may find himself in 2012 rotation

After two seasons in 'pen, Reds lefty should get chance to start

CHICAGO -- It's still too early to project, but don't be surprised if Aroldis Chapman is pitching once every five days as a starter for the Reds in 2012.

Chapman, the Cuban left-hander the Reds signed to a six-year, $30 million contract before the 2010 season, has been exclusively a setup reliever this season. But he was initially signed with thoughts that he would be a starter.

"With all the question marks on who's going to be with us going into next season, it's hard to say for sure," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "I would be very confident in saying that he will absolutely get a chance to start, maybe as early as next season."

The 23-year-old Chapman, who earned the victory with 1 1/3 scoreless innings during Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Cubs in 13 innings, has a 3.71 ERA in 47 appearances. His ERA is 2.35 with 14 walks and 35 strikeouts in 31 games since his June 24 return from the disabled list.

As a starter with Triple-A Louisville last season, Chapman was 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 13 starts before being moved to the bullpen. He made 15 big league relief appearances down the stretch and posted a 2.03 ERA.

"Certainly, we felt going into this season that our need was in the bullpen with Chappy," Price said. "The other part was not stockpiling a ton of innings on him early in his career.

"There are a lot of benefits to him starting. No. 1, I think his growth as a pitcher will increase at a faster pace when he gets more time, more innings, more bullpen time to really focus and work on his delivery and his pitches and situational baseball."

Leake earns one more start, likely vs. Cubs

CHICAGO -- Tuesday's career-best nine-inning performance vs. the Cubs was not the swan-song start for Reds pitcher Mike Leake after all.

"He'll get another start," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Wednesday.

The Reds are trying to cap Leake's load in his second big league season. He is at 167 combined innings in the Major Leagues and a short Triple-A stint after he threw 138 1/3 innings in 2010.

Although the Reds have yet to list their probable pitchers beyond this weekend, it would line up that Leake could start on Monday against the Cubs again. The 23-year-old took a one-hit shutout into the ninth in Chicago but gave up Bryan LaHair's game-tying two-run homer with two outs. The Reds won the game, 4-2, in 13 innings.

"He wanted to go out on a win, and that would have been perfect last night," Baker said. "But if he had shut them out last night, he would have wanted to pitch again anyway."

Called up over the weekend from Triple-A Louisville, Edinson Volquez would get Leake's spot in the rotation and likely make two or three starts.

"We'll possibly go one time in the rotation with six starters by adding Volquez," said Reds pitching coach Bryan Price. "Volquez will be the guy that inevitably takes Mike's spot in the rotation when we terminate his innings."

Baker impressed with Mesoraco's first starts

CHICAGO -- Reds rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco's first two big league starts on Monday and Tuesday were considered a success by his manager, Dusty Baker.

"I'd probably give him a 95 or 96 on a scale of 100," Baker said.

Mesoraco caught Dontrelle Willis on Monday and Mike Leake on Tuesday. Although neither pitcher earned a victory, both pitched well. Leake took a one-hit shutout into the ninth inning during his outing.

Mesoraco also fired a bullet in the bottom of the 10th to complete an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play with the bases loaded.

"He's called a good game," Baker said. "Naturally, he has a few things to learn, but he has come a long way in a short period of time since I first saw him a couple of years ago. He pays attention. He's conscientious. He's getting better throwing. When I first saw him, he had a sore arm. He threw the ball well. He received it well."

Worth noting

Class A Dayton's Midwest League playoff game vs. Lansing was postponed on Wednesday because of rain. The game was re-scheduled for Thursday.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.