Recalled by the Reds, Cody Reed ‘trying to have fun and let it loose’

Reds starter Cody Reed pitches against the Cubs on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
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Reds starter Cody Reed pitches against the Cubs on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Cody Reed chatted with his mom on his way from Louisville to Cincinnati on Wednesday after being recalled by the Reds.

“She said, ‘You don’t seem to be too happy about it,’” Reed said. “I’m like, ‘Well, it’s not like I haven’t done it before.’”

Trying to stay on an even keel is the 6-foot-5, 230-pound left-hander’s new approach to his career, which has floundered since he was acquired by the Reds with left-handers Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb from Kansas City for Johnny Cueto on July 26, 2015. Even though his numbers don’t show it, Reed feels it is paying off. After opening the season with Cincinnati and logging a 5.40 ERA in four games, including one start, he was optioned to the Bats on April 20 and went 2-6 with a 4.57 ERA in 12 starts.

»RELATED: Longer starts making Riggleman’s job easier

“I thought I was throwing the ball pretty well,” Reed, 25, said in the Reds’ Great American Ball Park clubhouse before Wednesday’s game against the White Sox. “I’m trying not to be so uptight. I’m just trying to have fun and let it loose.”

Reed caught the Reds’ attention with his last start, when he allowed five hits and two walks and hit a batter while Toledo was scoring seven runs in the first inning on June 29. He recovered to throw five shutout innings before the Mud Hens added a run in the seventh.

“He’s competing well,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “He had a ballgame the other day that was the talk of the organization. There were some plays that weren’t made behind him, but he buckled down and did the necessary things to help his ballclub.”

Being more aggressive has helped Reed, who went into this season 1-8 with a 6.75 ERA in 22 games, including 11 starts, with Cincinnati in 2016 and 2017.

“I’ve tracked the hits I’ve given up and a lot of them have come on the first two pitches, so I know I’m in the zone,” he said. “Throwing my changeup more helps, too. I’m just trying to have a good attitude and stay in rhythm.

Bolstering bullpen: Reed's promotion was one of a flurry of moves made by the Reds on Wednesday. Right-hander Tanner Rainey was recalled for his sixth stint with Cincinnati this season and utility player Brandon Dixon was optioned to Louisville. Also, right-hander Dylan Floro was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with minor league right-hander Zach Neal and international signing bonus pool space for minor-league right-handers James Marinan and Aneurys Zabala.

Marinan, 19, had no record in three starts with the Dodgers’ Arizona rookie league team in his first professional season. Zabala, a 21-year-old Dominican Republic product in his fifth season, was 2-2 with a 4.87 ERA in 24 relief appearances with Great Lakes of the Single-A Midwest League. Zabala is 10-17 with a 5.05 ERA in his career.

Marinan will report to Billings of the rookie-level Pioneer League and Zabala to Single-A Dayton.

Floro, who pitched for the Reds in spring training as a non-roster player, was a solid 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 25 relief appearances since being promoted from Louisville.

Dixon’s demotion left Riggleman with a three-man bench – possibly four if versatile right-hander Mike Lorenzen doesn’t pitch and is available. The Reds felt extra bullpen arms were needed after using seven relievers in Tuesday’s marathon, 12-inning, 12-8 loss to the White Sox and four on Monday. Raisel Iglesias had pitched in three consecutive games.

“I wouldn’t think we would go long with a three-man bench,” Riggleman said. “With the off day (Thursday), I would hope we could get the pitching back in line.”

Homer update: Right-hander Homer Bailey, sidelined since June 2 with right knee inflammation, allowed seven this and one earned run with eight strikeouts and didn't walk anybody in 6 2/3 innings of a rehab start for Louisville against Indianapolis on Tuesday. He threw 103 pitches, 69 for strikes.

The start was the fourth of his rehab assignment. His next start will most likely be Sunday at Louisville against Toledo.

So long: After a day off on Thursday, the Reds are scheduled to embark on a 10-day, nine-game road trip, starting with the first of three against the Cubs in Chicago on Friday at 2:20 p.m. Right-hander Tyler Mahle, who was a sparkling 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA in five June starts, is Cincinnati's scheduled starter.

The road trip and All-Star Game break will keep the Reds away from Great American Ball Park until July 20, when they are due to open a three-game series against Pittsburgh.