Reds keeping rotation options open
Posted on: August 27, 2010 6:38 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 6:39 pm
The Reds are keeping their postseason rotation options open, placing rookie Mike Leake on the 15-day disabled list with "rigt shoulder fatigue" while keeping the door open on veteran Aaron Harang returning to the rotation.
Harang is penciled in as the starter for next Tuesday's game against Milwaukee, manager Dusty Baker said (though Homer Bailey is currently on the team's probables for Tuesday). Harang has been on the disabled list since July six with lower back problems. He made two starts in Triple-A with less-than successful results.
Still, Harang said he feels fine and dismissed his ugly stats -- two starts, 11 innings, 14 hits, 11 earned runs. He did strike out 10, while walking only two (and hitting a batter).
"You go down there and anything around the strike zone they're swinging," Harang said. "I went down there and worked on working my endurance up. It's the same thing that's been in the past, you go down there and talk to any big league pitcher, it's one of those things they'll all say the same thing."
Baker noted he never pays attention t those results either, especially with veteran pitchers against inexperienced batters -- "you can't set up someone who doesn't know they're being set up."
There had been speculation that Harang would spend September as a long man out of the bullpen -- hardly something you want out of a guy making $12.5 million this season. Harang is 6-7 with a 5.02 ERA in 17 starts this season. Harang said he's going about his business today as if it's the day after a start, so he'll be on his routine for a start against the Brewers.
Whatever role Harang does find himself in, it'll likely be his final stint in a Reds uniform. There's little doubt the team will buyout the $12.75 million option for 2011.
Leake, on the other hand, hopes to have a long future ahead in Cincinnati. The team considered shutting the rookie down for the season, but the Reds went ahead and put him not he DL Friday in hopes of having him return when he is eligible on Sept. 9, perhaps in the rotation, but more likely as a long reliever and possible pinch-hitter.
"We think it's better to do this now," Baker said. "He'd still be eligible for the playoffs."
Leake made 22 starts this season, going 7-4 with a 2.22 ERA in his first 11 and 5-6 with a 5.60 ERA in his second 11. He was also ineffective out of the bullpen in two appearances, allowing eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Baker said the team will concentrate on Leake's fitness level and building his strength back up from the grind of a full season. Leake threw 138 1/3 innings, about the same workload he had last year at Arizona State (142 innings), but on a shorter schedule of the five-man rotation instead of once a week.
"We did the same thing with Homer (Bailey) and look at how he's come back," Baker said.
The team does have Sam LeCure on the current roster (although it's to be seen if he'll be here on Aug. 31) and Matt Maloney in the minor leagues, both of whom have pitched well as starters for the Reds this season.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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