Volquez rejoins Reds after lengthy Triple-A stint

Volquez rejoins Reds after lengthy Triple-A stint

ST. LOUIS -- The Reds' clubhouse had no shortage of players lining up to welcome pitcher Edinson Volquez back to the team Saturday after he was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

Volquez pitched on Friday vs. Indianapolis and struck out 12 over seven innings while giving up two runs, five hits and two walks. He finished his Triple-A season 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 13 starts, with 29 walks and 83 strikeouts.

Initially, Volquez will likely work out of the bullpen. There is a chance he could get one or two starts with the Reds as they contemplate shutting down Mike Leake when he reaches his innings limit

"I feel good," Volquez said. "I think I found what I was looking for -- to throw more strikes, not walk too many people and be more consistent with my delivery in the strike zone."

Volquez's second stint of the season in the Minors was an extended one. He was demoted on July 7 after going 5-4 with a 5.93 ERA in 16 big league starts and struggling with command.

"As a player, it's humbling to have to go back," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's not the first one or the last one. You'd rather it happen now in this part of his career -- early -- than later. Nothing is physically wrong with him, and he still has outstanding stuff. I'm just glad he went down and did what he had to do."

Volquez, who was the Reds' Opening Day starter this year, worked with Louisville pitching coaches Ted Power and Tom Browning on improving his mechanics and tempo and believed he found the right delivery.

"We worked a lot every day," Volquez said. "[Browning] even had me do a little bit like Johnny [Cueto] and turn my back a little bit. I threw like that once last night. I don't do it a lot. Warming up, I found my release point better."

Volquez, 28, has been trying to get back to being the pitcher who won 17 games in 2008. He missed most of 2009 and had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. In 2010, he was back at the All-Star break and made 12 starts while pitching 62 2/3 innings. This season, combined with the Reds and Louisville, he has thrown 172 1/3 innings.

"The fact he made it through this year with that amount of innings, he should be stronger and better next year," Baker said. "He'll be another year removed [from the surgery] and the workload that he's handled from where he came from."

Of course, one of the questions hanging over the Reds entering the offseason is if they bring back Volquez. He will be eligible for arbitration for the second time.

"There's nothing I can do. They've got the hammer and can do whatever they want," Volquez said.

Volquez avoided arbitration last winter when he inked a one-year contract worth $1.625 million. He was offered a multiyear deal similar to the four-year, $27 million contract Cueto signed, but turned it down. In hindsight, were there regrets about not taking the security?

"Maybe," Volquez said. "We'll see what happens next year. We can go for one more year like this year."