Burton trying to get back to old form

Burton trying to get back to old form

CINCINNATI -- If Jared Burton can resume pitching as well as he was before getting hurt, he'll take it.

Originally expected to have a day-to-day injury, the Reds reliever never expected to miss almost two months with a latissimus muscle strain in his right side. Burton, the club's eighth-inning specialist, finally was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.

"As hard as I've worked and as well as I was doing before the injury, I just want to kind of get what I deserve, so to speak," Burton said before Tuesday's game. "Unfortunately, the team is not really in any sort of playoff race. But from an individual standpoint, I'd like to finish strong and just try to build on the success I was having before I went down."

Burton worked a scoreless seventh inning during the Reds' 3-2 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night. It wasn't an easy outing, which featured a single, a balk and a walk. He threw 29 pitches but came out clean.

"He got out of a tough jam," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

In two rehabilitation outings for Triple-A Louisville before his activation, Burton threw two scoreless innings and reported no problems.

"It was nice to get out there and get the adrenaline going in an actual game," Burton said. "My command was pretty good my second game [with Louisville]. Hopefully I can continue to build on that."

Burton, who hadn't pitched since July 10, is 4-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 44 games. Over his last 28 appearances, he posted a 0.83 ERA.

In the short term, David Weathers will continue working the eighth inning until Baker feels Burton is ready to set up for closer Francisco Cordero again.

"He hasn't been there in a while, and Weathers did a heck of a job there," Baker said. "We'll try to ease him back somewhere in the middle first."

Pitching matchup
CIN: RHP Edinson Volquez (16-5, 3.04 ERA)
In 5 1/3 innings during a 16-5 win over the Giants on Friday, Volquez gave up a season-high six runs on eight hits and walked three. He benefited from strong run support, which the Reds have provided for him regularly this season. In an Aug. 12 start against Pittsburgh, Volquez gave up one earned run on five hits and three walks while striking out five in 6 2/3 innings.

PIT: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (1-1, 6.53 ERA)
Ohlendorf will make his first Major League start -- and first appearance for the Pirates -- when he takes the mound against Cincinnati. Ohlendorf, a September callup, will be part of a six-man rotation for the Pirates during these last four weeks of the season. The 6-foot-4 right-hander was acquired from the Yankees in late July and was stretched into being a starter in seven Triple-A games.

Short hops
The Reds have five leadoff home runs this season, including two by Chris Dickerson. The rookie went deep in the bottom of the first against Ian Snell on Tuesday. ... Wilkin Castillo flied out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning while making his Major League debut.

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Up next
• Thursday: Reds (Josh Fogg, 2-7, 7.29) vs. Pirates (Tom Gorzelanny, 6-9, 6.61), 12:35 p.m. ET
• Friday: Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 13-10, 4.97) vs. Cubs (Ted Lilly, 13-8, 4.23), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Reds (Johnny Cueto, 8-12, 4.65) vs. Cubs (Jason Marquis, 9-8, 4.46), 7:10 p.m. ET

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.