Bryan Price: Garrett’s demotion part of the process

Rookie starter sent to Triple-A to get rest

Thirty three years ago, Tom Browning pitched 189 1/3 innings in his final season in the minors. The next season, as a rookie starter with the Cincinnati Reds, he threw 261 1/3 innings.

The days of a pitcher seeing his workload increase by that much in one year are over. The Reds proved that Sunday with a surprising move, optioning the starter who has been their best in the first weeks, rookie Amir Garrett (3-2, 4.25 ERA), to Triple-A Louisville. They want to make sure he’s strong enough in September to start games.

“In this day and age, we pay a lot of attention to the amount of innings these guys throw,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, but it’s an industry-wide deal and we’re paying attention to it.”

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One day after allowing two earned runs in six innings in a 14-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants, Garrett learned he will be out of the rotation for a short time. He has not pitched more than 140 1/3 innings in a season in his career and has thrown 36 innings in six starts this season.

“Amir knows he’ll be back,” Price said. “We’ve tried to prepare all of our young guys for this when we left Goodyear (Ariz.). I’m sure he’s not happy about it, but it will be part of the process for these guys.”

The Reds, who beat the Giants 4-0 on Sunday to sweep the three-game series, have an off-day Wednesday and another on May 15, giving them the option of using a four-man starting rotation until later this month. They called up reliever Barrett Astin from Louisville to take Garrett’s spot.

“We won’t need a fifth starter,” Price said. “That’s what made this attractive. It’s innings management, first and foremost, and being able to make sure (Garrett is) able to pitch the entire month of September as a starter, and not go, ‘Oh he’s at 165 innings on Sept. 1, so we’ll pitch him as a reliever the rest of the year.’ We don’t want to do that. We don’t have to put a magic number on how many innings, but we’re not going to take him from 145 innings to 200 or 210 or something like that.”

Extra bases: Billy Hamilton tripled in each of the three games against the Giants. He's the first Red since Deion Sanders in 1997 to triple in three straight games. No Red has tripled in four straight games.

Looking ahead: The New York Yankees visit Great American Ball Park for a two-game series starting Monday. The Yankees lead the interleague series 8-7 and won two of three games in their last visit to Cincinnati in 2011.

New York (19-9) entered a Sunday night game against the Chicago Cubs tied for first in the American League East with the Baltimore Orioles (20-10).

“I think there’s excitement because these are storied franchises: the Reds and the Yankees,” Price said. “Obviously, their history really since the late ’90s is prodigious. They’re playing great ball, and they’ve got young studs like we do.”

The Reds’ Rookie Davis (1-1, 7.36) starts against the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka (4-1, 4.46) on Monday. Tim Adleman (1-1, 4.22) starts against CC Sabathia (2-1, 5.45) on Tuesday. Both games start at 7:10 p.m.

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