It’s a question as old as Abner Doubleday.  How does a contending team strengthen their starting rotation by the MLB trade deadline?  Well, it’s possibly a bit more modern than Doubleday.

If you are the Cincinnati Reds, just have your All-Star pitcher go down a month and a half through the 2009 season, get a new arm via Tommy John surgery, and have him come back before the All-Star break—very simple, very easy.

There is none of this haggling with other teams regarding potential trades.

For those who have yet to hear, or possibly did hear, and didn’t believe what they heard, Edinson Volquez made his first rehabilitation start with the Reds’ AAA affiliate, Louisville, on Wednesday.

“I feel great right now over there on the mound,” Volquez said. “My arm is ready to go.”

This couldn’t come at a better time for fans in Reds Country.

Like it or not, the Reds will have to start babying Mike Leake’s right arm.  Old-timers and old-timer thinkers gripe and moan all you like.  It needs to be done.

Leake is already skipping a scheduled Sunday start and will pitch on seven days rest versus the Philadelphia Phillies.

Given Dusty Baker’s mythological reputation of destroying the young arms of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood while managing the Chicago Cubs, the last thing he would want is to be blamed for another ruined arm.

Edinson Volquez will make a start before the All-Star break. 

Don’t be surprised if Leake is moved to the bullpen.  It makes total sense.  Reds’ fans already know that the bullpen, to put it extremely kindly, sort of looks like they belong in old-timers games.

Outside of Sir Arthur Rhodes, of course.

Leake is just the kind of guy needed in there.  It would limit his innings and he could return as a starter in the event that the Reds do make a stretch run.

For all of you skeptics on your high-horses proclaiming, “Well, it was only Volquez’s first start.  I’ll bet you anything he threw junk.”

Yeah, you’re right sucka, he threw junk.  Some 80 pitches worth with a 98 mph smoker. 

Considering Volquez’s out pitch is his change, throwing in the mid-90s and upper-90s is, well, what’s the word? 

Just get your thesaurus out and look up a synonym for “flat-out badass.”

He allowed three hits and walked none in five innings pitched.

Let’s all get on the same page here.  This isn’t some one-hit wonder prospect we’re talking about.

Volquez is a former All-Star, and not very arguably the best pitcher on the Cincinnati staff. 

So for anyone who is dreaming of Cliff Lee coming to town, call Dusty when your shuttle lands.  No matter how cool your hair is.

Watch out NL Central, Volquez is back and madder than Mr. T after a Balboa beat-down.


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