Jumbo Diaz pitched in 340 minor league games from 2002 to 2014 before he made his big league debut with the Cincinnati Reds two years ago. It took eight appearances in 13 games this season for him to lose his spot in the bullpen.
The Reds optioned Diaz to Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday to make room for Robert Stephenson, who took the place of injured starter Alfredo Simon. Diaz gave up a three-run home run in the eighth inning Monday in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies, and that was the latest poor outing for a pitcher who got off to a strong start on the first homestand.
Diaz did not allow a run on three hits in his first four appearances. In his last four, he allowed four earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. His problem wasn’t velocity, manager Bryan Price said, but pitch execution and pitch usage.
“The thing about pitching in the big leagues is, No. 1, the longer you do it, the more comfortable a pitcher gets at this level,” Price said, “which is a good thing, and No. 2, the league gets more comfortable with what to expect from you. Certainly, the league is aware that Jumbo throws hard. The key for him moving forward is the quality of the command.”
Solid start: Dan Straily earned a spot in the rotation — or at least a second start Saturday against the Chicago Cubs — by allowing one run in five innings Monday.
Straily began the season in the bullpen. He began his career as a starter with the Oakland A’s.
“I was trying to be the best long man I could be,” Straily said, “but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it felt good to start the game.”
Straily threw 76 pitches, 52 for strikes.
“I knew (Price) was going to limit my pitch count,” he said. “I knew the only way to get deep into the bullpen and save the bullpen as much as I could was to be efficient. I was trying to get ahead.”
Wednesday’s game: Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 3.54 ERA) will start the final game of the series against the Rockies at 12:35 p.m. against Chad Bettis (2-0, 2.95).
Injury updates: Homer Bailey threw three innings in a simulated game at extending spring training Saturday in Goodyear, Ariz. He threw a bullpen session Monday and could make his first rehab start later this week as he works his way back from elbow surgery. … John Lamb, who is recovering from back surgery, allowed three runs in three innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Saturday. … Louisville placed Cody Reed, one of the Reds’ top pitching prospects, on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a cut finger.
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