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.

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.