Reds like righty Ramirez's versatility

Reds like righty Ramirez's versatility

CINCINNATI -- At first, the Reds' decision to promote pitcher Ramon Ramirez from Triple-A Louisville might seem like a head scratcher.

After all, Ramirez was 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA in seven starts with Louisville when the decision was made to recall him and put reliever Nick Masset on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique.

"We were on the phone all day [Monday] trying to come up with the best guy for what we need," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

To Baker and the Reds' front office, the right-handed Ramirez fit that bill over someone like lefty reliever Pedro Viola, who was performing well until very recently. The Phillies, which are in town for two more days, have a lineup that leans heavily to the left side in Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard.

Viola was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA entering Monday, but was knocked around his last two outings to the tune of eight earned runs, four hits and five walks. The 26-year-old is not currently on the 40-man roster, while Ramirez is.

"We threw around Viola. He's doing pretty good," Baker said. "He's a little inconsistent. He's coming fast but we would have had to take a chance on losing someone by taking them off [the 40-man roster] in order to get Viola on. There were no names we could come up with.

"Then we said if it's not Viola, which righties get lefties out best right now? So it was Ramon. Plus, he's had a taste of the big leagues. He's relieved, started, gone long and done lots of things. And he pitched well for us last year."

Last season in five games, including four starts, the 26-year-old Ramirez was 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA, 11 walks and 21 strikeouts over 27 innings. He came into Spring Training this spring with an outside chance at the fifth starter's spot, but missed a large chunk of camp participating in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela.

Ramirez has allowed three runs on eight hits over his last 15 innings. He threw a career-high eight innings for Louisville on May 10.

Pitching matchup
CIN: RHP Aaron Harang (3-4, 3.44 ERA)
Harang's overall numbers are good: 55 hits and 12 walks in 52 1/3 innings to go along with the 3.44 ERA. Last time out, though, he gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings in a loss to the Padres.

PHI: LHP Jamie Moyer (3-3, 8.15 ERA)
Moyer has been struggling lately. He allowed eight hits and seven runs in 4 1/3 innings Wednesday against the Dodgers. It was his second consecutive start in which he has allowed seven runs. Moyer is 0-2 with a 13.86 ERA (19 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings) in his last three starts. It is his worst three-start stretch since he went 0-1 with a 16.62 ERA (16 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings) from April 30-May 11, 2005, when he pitched for the Mariners.

Reds notes
Since his 14-game hitting streak ended, Willy Taveras is on a 0-for-19 skid -- including 0-for-5 with three strikeouts on Tuesday. ... Jay Bruce hit his first home run off a left-handed pitcher this season in 33 at-bats on Tuesday (Cole Hamels). ... The Reds are 7-10 at Great American Ball Park this season compared to 13-8 on the road.

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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
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On radio
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Up next
• Thursday: Reds (Micah Owings, 3-4, 3.95) vs. Phillies (Joe Blanton, 1-3, 6.86), 12:35 p.m. ET
• Friday: Reds (Edinson Volquez, 4-2, 4.25) vs. Indians (Anthony Reyes, 1-1, 6.88), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 5-3, 6.56) vs. Indians (David Huff, 0-1, 17.18), 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.