ClNCINNATI — The short-lived John Lamb Era is at an end and, of course, its duration is up to the blond-haired Cincinnati Reds left handed pitcher.
After another run-strewn performance Saturday night against the Milwaukee Brewers (two innings, nine runs, nine hits) that submerged his record to 1-and-8, Lamb was demoted to Class AAA Louisville to do reconstructive work.
“We have to get him back to where he is capable of pitching,” said manager Bryan Price. “He knows it. It wasn’t a big surprise. He has had 14 starts and I believe strongly he is a better pitcher than he has shown. He has to execute pitches better. We’ll use our Triple-A team to get him sharp and more competitive at this level.”
LAMB’S NEXT START was scheduled for Thursday, an off day, so the Reds can merely skip that day and continue with the rotation the way it is set up. They did not call up a pitcher to replace Lamb. They called up infield Kyle Waldrop because Price is short on the bench because of an eight-man bullpen and an injury to Brandon Phillips.
This move isn’t to make room for Homer Bailey, “Because Homer has another start on rehab (at Louisville) to make for sure and we’ll contemplate possibly two more starts,” said Price. “This move wasn’t made with the idea of replacing John with Homer in that slot. It was made because we needed to get John into a different environment.
“We have a lot of options on what we can do right now and there is no reason and no need to even speculate,” Price added. “We just decided after yesterday’s game it was time for Lamb to go to Triple-A. Now we have to come to a conclusion of how we want to move forward with our rotation.”
BAILEY PITCHED THURSDAY for Louisville and over four innings (64 pitches) he gave up three runs (one earned), walked three, threw a wild pitch and struck out five. His next start is scheduled for Tuesday.
“We got good reports on him, that he felt good,” said Price. “He felt closer to normal, a big step in the right direction. I’d like him to get to six innings and 85 to 100 pitches.”
And when Bailey is activated Price said not to expect too much from him for the rest of there season, that what he does the rest of this year is in preparation for 2017.
“He’ll pitch on his day to pitch, but it will still be a portion of his rehab,” said Price. “There will be certain protocols we’ll stay within to keep him healthy the rest of the season. He has to pass our smell test and we have to be constantly reminded that he is coming off back-to-back elbow surgeries. No matter how good he might be pitching we have to pass the smell test — can he go back out for a fifth or sixth inning? He will have to grow into that. We’d like the last 2 1/2 months of the season to really be a springboard for Homer for 2017.”
ONE OF THE FORGOTTEN guys working his way back toward the rotation is Tim Adleman, the right hander rescued by the Reds from independent league ball. He was in the rotation until suffering an oblique injury, the same malady that sidelined Anthony DeSclafani for nearly all of the first half of the season.
Like Bailey, Adleman is pitching on rehab and started Saturday for Louisville and pitched four shutout innings.
“He got up to 63 pitches, so if we needed a starter it is reasonable he could go out and throw 85 pitches in a game, potentially six innings,” said Price. “He would be a candidate for that. He is throwing the ball well, but the other part is to make sure the oblique is healed so we don’t make a decision out of necessity that would lead to a setback.”
AS THE JULY 31 NON-WAIVERS trade deadline approaches, the scouts are gathering full force at Great American Ball Park, especially now with two teams going nowhere, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds, playing each other and both in a seller’s mood.
On Sunday, there were scouts from Anaheim, Arizona, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis, Texas and Toronto.
Most are gathered to watch Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce and Zack Cozart and Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun.
The interesting aspect of Jay Bruce’s contract is that he has a no-trade clause to eight teams — Arizona, Boston, Cleveland, Miami, Minnesota, Oakland, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay. Significantly, Cleveland, the Yankees, Miami, Boston and Tampa Bay did not have scouts at Sunday’s game.
Bruce, though, has said he would consider the circumstances on any team on the no-trade list that expresses an interest in him. One knowledgeable scout said, “I firmly believe if he goes to the National League it will be San Francisco and if he goes to the American League it will be Toronto.”