CINCINNATI -- Edinson Volquez is always in a good mood, but the Reds starter had a reason for being happy Wednesday. Volquez, who is on the 15-day DL because of back spasms, passed a major test when he had a good bullpen session, and the end of his disabled-list stint is clearly in sight. "No pain. I feel better, and I think I'm ready to go right now," Volquez said.
Volquez is eligible to come off the DL on Monday. He will make the start that night vs. the Cardinals in St. Louis. "He should be good to go," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I know he's ready to come off that DL. He's been working it to death." During his bullpen session, supervised by pitching coach Dick Pole, Volquez worked at full speed without limitations. "I wasn't even counting. I was just throwing like crazy -- bam, bam, bam," Volquez said. "[Pole] told me afterward it was 78 pitches. I threw all of my pitches." In eight starts, Volquez is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA, 31 walks and 45 strikeouts over 48 2/3 innings. He went on the DL May 22, retroactive to May 17. For the past several days, the right-hander has spent more time running in a pool than on firm ground while trying to get his back feeling better. "I think I'm tired of the DL and running in the pool for 20 minutes and working in the gym for 3 1/2 hours," Volquez said. Another player even more tired of the DL is third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who has been out since April 28 with a chip fracture in his left wrist. Encarnacion has been hitting off a tee the past couple of days, and he hopes to graduate to regular batting practice sometime this weekend in Milwaukee. He played catch on Tuesday with Brandon Phillips and reported no issues. Until afternoon showers forced the tarp to come out at Great American Ball Park, Encarnacion was to take ground balls on the field for the first time since the injury. "I never expected it would be this long," Encarnacion said of his DL stint. "This is my second time in a month I've had my glove on. The first time was [Tuesday]. That's never happened before."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.