CINCINNATI -- Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet was busy working the phones on Thursday. These are the calls a skipper likes to make and players like to receive. In that one day, Sweet told three of his players that they were being promoted to the Majors. Veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes had his contract purchased and reliever Carlos Fisher was recalled for his first big league stint. Also, Homer Bailey was given the word after Edinson Volquez went on the disabled list with back spasms. Bailey will start on Saturday vs. the Indians. To make room for Gomes and Fisher, outfielder Darnell McDonald was designated for assignment and pitcher Ramon Ramirez was optioned to Louisville.
"We had one of those awesome 11:05 a.m. starts," Gomes joked dryly on Friday. "I was home early and got the call around 3:30 [p.m.] from Rick Sweet. I packed my apartment as fast as possible and headed up before they changed their mind." "I had just sat down at a theater to watch "The Terminator" movie," Fisher said. "The preview had just gotten done and I had a missed call. I had a funny feeling so I went outside. It was Rick Sweet. So I didn't watch the movie." A former member of the Rays for parts of six seasons, the 28-year-old Gomes was a finalist for an outfield spot with the Reds when he competed at Spring Training as a non-roster invite. Although he began hot in camp, he struggled down the stretch and was sent out the day before the season opened. "I told him to go down and find his stroke," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "McDonald wasn't getting any at-bats here, and I want him to go down and find his stroke. Hopefully Jonny can come in and give us some more offense." Gomes got off to a slow start at Louisville but came on the past few weeks. He was batting .282 and led the Bats with nine home runs and 27 RBIs. "I started to get locked in towards the end. In the beginning, it was real cold out and I could run every excuse out there, but it's my responsibility to be professional and get off to a quick start, which didn't happen," Gomes said. "I mentally checked into Louisville and got my swing going." Gomes admitted the demotion at the end of spring was disappointing. "I rolled with the punches, headed down there and kept my head up," Gomes said. "I told [general manager] Walt [Jocketty] and Dusty when they asked if I'd go down there, I told them right away, 'Yeah.' Big leagues, Minor Leagues, A-ball, Triple-A -- I'm a baseball player. That's my job. I'm going to go down there and play baseball." Fisher had a strong showing in camp and kept it going once the regular season began. He was 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 13 games. The 26-year-old, who will be making his Major League debut, had 21 strikeouts with four walks in 18 innings. "I tried to come into spring ready to go," Fisher said. "Luckily, I threw well and my thing was to keep throwing well into the season so I'd be one of the first guys that gets that call." Ramirez was recalled on Tuesday after Nick Masset went on the 15-day DL. In 2 1/3-inning relief appearance vs. the Phillies on Thursday, Ramirez allowed two earned runs. McDonald hit .175 in 24 games, going 7-for-40 with one extra-base hit. He also struck out nine times and grounded into four double plays. With the Reds slated to face left-handed starters on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the right-handed-hitting Gomes is likely to see some action quickly. Baker already planned to have him in Saturday's lineup.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.