PHILADELPHIA -- Each time he's summoned from the Reds bullpen, Todd Coffey sprints to the mound with the tenacity of a leopard chasing down a gazelle. When he gets there, however, Coffey often becomes prey to his first batter. Considered one of the more critical statistics for relievers, first batters are hitting .355 (11-for-31) against Coffey this season.
"I hadn't even noticed," Coffey said Wednesday when told of his lack of success against first batters. "I had no idea." During Tuesday's 11-4 Cincinnati loss to the Phillies, Coffey was called into the fourth inning with two outs and the bases loaded. The first batter, Carlos Ruiz, lined a three-run double. The runs were charged to Michael Gosling, who got into the jam. Another key reliever's stat: Of Coffey's 22 inherited runners, 11 have scored this season. He entered Wednesday 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 34 games. "I'm really upset I gave up the double, but I attacked him, went after him," said Coffey, who was credited with 2 1/3 scoreless innings Tuesday. "I didn't pitch around him. I left the pitch up a little bit and he hit it." It begs the question, at least, whether the sprint from the bullpen wears Coffey down -- especially in hot 90-degree summer weather like it was Tuesday and Wednesday. No one has ever told him to turn his sprint into a run or jog, however. "I've thought about it," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It's something he does and he feels good about doing it. It's a lot of running here, too. I think he's tried doing it slower. I think he's tried everything. They're going to hit .350 if you throw right down the middle of the plate." Last season, when Coffey was much more dominant and led the pitching staff with 81 games, no one brought up the sprint. This season, Coffey twice spent time at Triple-A Louisville in late May and early June. The right-hander didn't consider it an issue now that he's having a rocky year. "It's just something I do," he said. "I've heard some people say, 'I love that you sprint in. I love the hustle.' It's so normal for me to do." Switched up: Narron tweaked his rotation for the second time this week. This time, Bronson Arroyo and Kyle Lohse were flip-flopped for the upcoming Cardinals series. Arroyo will now start Friday and Lohse is slated to go Saturday. Arroyo is 0-7 with a 7.28 ERA over his last nine starts but is coming off his best outing in a long time. After he was moved back to pitch on six days' rest, the right-hander allowed three runs and 10 hits over seven innings in Sunday's 3-2 loss at Seattle. The switch puts Arroyo back on his usual four days of rest. "I am kind of anxious to get out there, man," Arroyo said. "I finally got going good, the way I wanted to. I want to get out there and hopefully have a good outing." Arroyo had complained two starts ago that he felt rundown and his fastball lacked zip. So far, he's had good recovery from Sunday. "I feel great," Arroyo said. "For once, I'm a lot more sore than I've been in a long time. When I have good stuff, I'm real sore the next day after I pitch. When I don't have good stuff, I can pitch 100 straight innings. I guess maybe there's less whip to the arm. I was pretty sore [Tuesday], which was good." Over his last three starts, Lohse is 0-3 with an 8.66 ERA. He's lost four of his last five outings. Rehab assignments: Three Reds on rehabilitation assignments saw action for Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday afternoon against Richmond. Reliever Bill Bray (shoulder) resumed his rehab assignment after a temporary shutdown but had lackluster results. Bray allowed three earned runs and four hits in two-thirds of an inning. Ryan Freel (concussion) played center field for the second straight game and went 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Freel is 5-for-18 (.278) in four games with Louisville. Reliever Jared Burton (lower back) walked one and struck out one during a scoreless inning. Farm report: Louisville first baseman Joey Votto, infielder Jeff Keppinger and left-handed pitcher Phil Dumatrait will represent the International League in the Triple-A All-Star game on July 11. Another Bats lefty, Bobby Livingston, started Wednesday's game and allowed one earned run and three hits over six innings in his latest good outing. Coming up: Matt Belisle (0-2, 6.41) will start the road trip and series finale against the Phillies on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Adam Eaton (7-5, 5.63) is Philadelphia's scheduled starter.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.