Reds call up Smith to help with bullpen
Baker says shakeup to relief corps under consideration
CINCINNATI -- Jordan Smith's resume as a reliever is brief, and the numbers haven't been inspiring. Yet symbolic of the Reds' real need for bullpen help, they reached down to Double-A Carolina and gave Smith his first Major League promotion Tuesday.To make room for Smith, reliever Enerio Del Rosario was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Smith made his Major League debut under less than stellar circumstances by entering in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 12-0 blowout loss to the Dodgers. He didn't make matters worse, however, as he pitched a scoreless inning with a two-out double allowed to Russell Martin. Smith, 24, posted a 1-3 record and 5.08 ERA in 27 games with nine saves for Carolina. He allowed 38 hits over 28 1/3 innings. But the right-hander has a 1.13 ERA over his last six games -- with one earned run allowed over eight innings. Drafted in 2006, all 74 of Smith's games before this season were as a starting pitcher. He was converted to a bullpen role during Spring Training. Once he improved his pitch selection, the sinkerball-thrower felt like he started clicking on the mound in recent weeks. "Since I've taken on the reliever role, I had to adjust my game just a little bit -- different pitches at certain times," Smith said. "I was trying to be too aggressive with my fastball at certain points. If you look at my hits, if you were there, probably half of those hits were infield hits and bloop hits that I was kind of getting unlucky. I started getting into a rhythm a couple of weeks ago and kept the ball down real good, and it was moving. I feel better now." Reds manager Dusty Baker was impressed with Smith during Spring Training. Baker also indicated that Smith's promotion could be the harbinger that more changes are coming to the bullpen. "We don't know if this is temporary or permanent," Baker said. "It depends on him and depends on how we might revamp our rotation some in order to strengthen our bullpen some. We're still at the drawing board on some of that stuff." The Reds bullpen came in Tuesday ranked 13th in the National League with a 4.74 ERA. With the exception of lefty Arthur Rhodes, the club has lacked consistent relief help in the seventh and eighth innings. It could put starter Sam LeCure or the currently injured Homer Bailey in the bullpen. With Logan Ondrusek and Del Rosario already summoned from Louisville, there were really no viable options on the 40-man roster to call up. Jared Burton missed the early part of the season on the disabled list and has struggled lately. Bats starters like Travis Wood and Matt Maloney have little to no experience as relievers. Baker would not say what considerations were on the table. "I can't tell you that. We'll see," he said. "Some depends on how Smith fits in. Most of the pitchers are going six and a fraction [innings]. That seventh inning, it's so very important. We're looking for somebody to close that gap there. Ondrusek has done a good job closing the gap, but he can't do it by himself. We're still in the fact-finding mode. You wish you'd have everything perfectly in order but it's not."
Del Rosario to Triple-A to refine his pitches
CINCINNATI -- To make room for reliever Jordan Smith on the roster, reliever Enerio Del Rosario was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Del Rosario had a 2.08 ERA in nine games over two big league stints, but allowed seven of his nine inherited runners to score."We liked what we've seen from Del Rosario," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
"He just needs to refine a few things if he's going to be as good as he can be and get big league hitters out with consistency. He has the stuff. It's a matter of finding location and refining his secondary stuff."
Phillips returns to lineup after treatment
CINCINNATI -- After he missed Sunday's game against the Royals, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was diagnosed with a mild strain of his right hamstring. Phillips, who spent Monday's off-day receiving treatment, was back in Tuesday's lineup vs. the Dodgers.Reds manager Dusty Baker said Phillips didn't have to do any heavy lobbying to get back in the order. Phillips entered the night with a 15-game hitting streak while batting .463 (31-for-67) in that stretch. "He came in with the trainer," Baker said. "A lot of it depends on what the trainer says. He says he was feeling a whole lot better. He was playing with this for a while. I told him to just play smart, that's all."
Thumb bothers Hanigan when catching
CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan, who has been on the disabled list with a fractured left thumb since May 29, took batting practice with the pitchers Tuesday."It feels fine," Hanigan said of his thumb. The same could not be said when Hanigan slips on his catcher's mitt. It's still painful for him to receive throws, which he was doing Tuesday afternoon with assistant trainer Steve Baumann. "It's getting better, but it still rattles [the thumb] when I catch," Hanigan said. There remains no timetable for Hanigan's return.
Dusty Baker celebrated his 61st birthday Tuesday. "I'll play Tupac today. It's his birthday, too," Baker said. ... The Reds have signed these 2010 First-Year Player Draft picks: shortstop Devin Lohman (third round), shortstop Brodie Greene (fourth round), pitcher Jose Amezcua (seventh round), second baseman David Vidal (eighth round), pitcher Tanner Robles (ninth round), outfielders Steven Hunt (15th round), Robert Maddox (18th round) and Kurtis Muller (22nd round), pitcher Patrick Doyle (24th round), third baseman Adam Muenster (29th round), first baseman Dominic D'Anna (31st round) and pitchers Matthew Leonard (38th round) and Muhammad El'Hajjm (49th round).
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.