Edinson Volquez may be moved to the bullpen

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Edinson Volquez failed to escape the first inning Monday night against the Giants, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks over just two-thirds of an inning. He now has a 6.17 ERA and 1.97 WHIP over his first eight starts since being activated from the disabled list in July, posting a troublesome 36/27 K/BB ratio over 35 innings.

Wild inconsistencies aren’t anything new with a pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, but it’s especially tough for the Reds to continue to putting him out there in the middle of a playoff race. With that in mind, Reds manager Dusty Baker told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that he “did not know” whether Volquez would make his next scheduled start Sunday.

“We have to decide if it’s better served for him to continue to start
and hope he gets it or have somebody else start and possibly put him in
the bullpen or something,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ll decide
that after we revamp who’s pitching. Bryan is going to come up with two
or three different scenarios that we’ll go over and we’ll try to come up
with the best one for us and for them.”

It would be easy for the Reds to swap Mike Leake with Volquez, however the team recently sent the young right-hander to the bullpen in an effort to limit his workload. Aaron Harang would make plenty of sense for the spot, but he was recently hammered for six runs in a rehab start with Triple-A Louisville last Friday. Ultimately, it may come down to Matt Maloney, who was sent back to the minors when Volquez returned to the majors last month. The 26-year-old left-hander posted a 3.09 ERA in two starts with the Reds and has a 3.35 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) with Triple-A Louisville this season.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.