Reds could use lefty Chapman in relief

Reds could use lefty Chapman in relief

OAKLAND -- Reds lefty prospect Aroldis Chapman pitched out of the bullpen for Triple-A Louisville for the first time on Wednesday, and it might be a sign of things to come.

Since Edinson Volquez had a rehab assignment start, the Reds organization decided to see how Chapman would fare working in relief. Against Toledo, the 22-year-old Cuban pitched two innings in the seventh and eighth and allowed one run, two hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

"We may look at that," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "If Volquez comes back and [Homer] Bailey isn't far away, the best opportunity [for Chapman] will be out of the bullpen. But we could still possibly use him as a starter."

In 14 games, including 13 starts for Louisville, Chapman is 5-5 with a 4.12 ERA. In 67 2/3 innings, he has allowed 62 hits, 41 walks and struck out 79. While having velocity that has reached 103 mph, he's had issues with consistency and command much of the season. His pitch counts are often at his limit of around 100 by the fifth inning.

The Reds signed Chapman in January to a six-year, $30.25 million contract with plans to eventually have him in the rotation. But with the rotation performing well and the Reds needing bullpen help, adding Chapman and his power arm could be a boost.