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."
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.
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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Official game notes
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