8/22/2013 4:51 P.M. ET
Christiani receives inaugural big league callup
By Mark Sheldon and Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Right-handed reliever Nick Christiani, who has pitched the last two seasons at Triple-A Louisville, had only been awake for 30 minutes late Thursday morning when an unexpected call came.
"It was Jimmy Mattocks, our trainer, who said to call [Bats manager Jim] Riggleman, who didn't pick up the first five times when I called him," Christiani said.
Christiani had an idea what Riggleman had to say and eventually heard it for himself. He was getting his first promotion to the Majors after the Reds placed Jonathan Broxton on the disabled list with flexor mass strain in his right forearm.
"They said they wanted me in Cincinnati as soon as possible," Christiani said after the Reds' 2-1 win over the D-backs on Thursday. "I packed my stuff up and I got here around the fifth inning and headed out to the 'pen. It almost hasn't set in yet. It was just a couple of hours ago, I was still in Triple-A and now I'm in the big leagues. It's crazy."
Christiani was 6-5 with a 4.05 ERA, 15 walks and 48 strikeouts in 47 games this season for Louisville. Over his last 17 appearances, the 26-year-old had a 2.79 ERA. Of his 23 inherited runners, only three scored.
"I changed up some things mechanically and then started throwing a couple of new pitches -- a cutter and a changeup," Christiani said. "I just feel better with my command and everything as well. I've been able to have success, and hopefully it carries over up here."
The Reds' bullpen is worn from the past few games and it needed Christiani's fresh arm. As it turned out, he was not needed on Thursday, as starter Mat Latos worked eight innings.
"They said most of the guys had been used a lot lately. I was ready," Christiani said.
Broxton lands on DL, to undergo surgery on forearm
CINCINNATI -- Plowing forward without injured players is something the Reds have had to do all season. For the second time in 2013, they will be trying to overcome the loss of right-handed setup man Jonathan Broxton.
On Thursday, the Reds placed Broxton on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor mass strain in his right forearm, an injury that will require surgery. To replace him, the club selected the contract of right-handed reliever Nick Christiani from Triple-A Louisville. Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was moved to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Christiani.
From June 15-Aug. 9, Broxton was on the DL with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow.
"We had just gotten big Broxton back," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He said he was feeling great. He was throwing the ball 97-98 [mph]. It's kind of a downer. You can get down, but you can't stay down. You've got to figure out a way to keep rolling. This is a pretty big blow. I was telling the other guys we have to pick it up as a team."
During the eighth inning of Wednesday's 10-7 win over the D-backs, Broxton allowed a Gerardo Parra homer, followed by a four-pitch walk to Wil Nieves. That's when Baker, pitching coach Bryan Price and trainer Paul Lessard visited the mound and took the reliever out.
Broxton, in the first season of a three-year, $21 million contract, will undergo an operation that would likely mean the end of his season. But Baker would not speculate on any timetables.
"They don't know until they get in there and see what's wrong," Baker said. "I'd just be guessing right now until the doctors get in there."
In 34 games this season, Broxton is 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA, 27 hits, 12 walks and 25 strikeouts over 30 2/3 innings.
Christiani was 6-5 with a 4.05 ERA, 15 walks and 48 strikeouts in 47 games this season for Louisville. But he allowed only three of his 23 inherited runners to score. Over his last 17 appearances, the 26-year-old had a 2.79 ERA. The Reds chose him over right-hander Curtis Partch, who had been up earlier this season.
"We've seen him in Spring Training," Baker said of Christiani. "I heard he's throwing the ball pretty good down there. Partch was the other candidate. He just got back himself from [the DL because of a biceps injury]."
Choo comes close to Reds' first cycle since '89
CINCINNATI -- When Shin-Soo Choo stepped to the plate in the eighth inning in Wednesday's 10-7 win over the D-backs, he had a chance to do something no other Reds player has done in more than two decades.
After opening the Cincinnati half of the first with his sixth leadoff home run of the season, Choo singled in the second and doubled in the fourth, leaving him a triple shy of the cycle heading into his fourth and final at-bat of the game.
"I said, 'Hit one down in the right-field corner,'" Reds manager Dusty Baker said before Thursday's finale. "The triple is the hardest one to get, and the way they were playing him, way over in right-center, if he hit one down in that corner, it would have been a triple."
Choo, however, was distracted by the fact the D-backs had cut what was once an 8-0 advantage to just a one-run lead by the time he stepped in the box to face right-hander Brad Ziegler.
"I said, 'I'm not going to think about that,'" Choo said. "Especially with the game close, I think more about getting on base. If I hit a triple, it's a triple. It happened. Not looking for a triple or an extra-base hit, I don't think like that."
On the seventh pitch of his at-bat, Choo did hit a drive to right field, but it dropped in front of Gerardo Parra to complete a 4-for-4 night. Three batters later, Choo came around to score.
With a triple, Choo would have become just the sixth player in Reds history to hit for the cycle, and the first since Eric Davis did it on June 2, 1989, against San Diego. Before that, Frank Robinson was the last Cincinnati player to accomplish the rare feat, doing so in May 1959.
"It's fate," Choo said. "If you hit a cycle, you hit a cycle -- fate. I'm not trying to hit a cycle."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.