UPDATE: Reds, Volquez reach deal, avoid arbitration

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UPDATE: Mark Sheldon of MLB.com says this one is done.

Saturday, 5:37 PM: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Reds and Volquez are close to an agreement on a one-year, $1.6 million contract.

Saturday, 3:31 PM: Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer earlier today that he expects to get a deal done with Edinson Volquez this weekend, most likely in the form of a one-year deal.

Volquez is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. He requested $2 million and was offered $1.3 million when arbitration figures were exchanged last Tuesday.

The Reds have made their arbitration-eligible players a priority this offseason, inking Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto to multi-year contracts and securing considerable cost certainty for the next few seasons. Just last week, it looked like the club was going to go a similar route with Volquez, but Jocketty told Fay today that the 27-year-old right-hander prefers a one-year deal.

It’s a calculated gamble on the part of Volquez, as he could command considerably more through the arbitration process if he bounces back with a solid 2011 campaign. That’s clearly the motivation here. He has been limited to just major league 21 starts over the past two seasons due to Tommy John surgery.

Padres to recall Luis Urías

Luis Urias
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The Padres are set to recall top infield prospect Luis Urías from Triple-A El Paso, according to a report from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’ll be the second such stint for the club’s no. 2 prospect, and one they hope to extend through the end of the season. A corresponding roster move will be announced later this weekend.

Urías, 22, struggled in his first promotion to the majors this April. Touted as “one of the Minors’ better pure hitters” with “innate bat-to-ball skills” and “plus on-base skills,” he found it difficult to adjust to big league pitching and slashed a lackluster .083/.241/.125 with just two hits and four walks over 11 games with the Padres.

Upon his return to Triple-A, however, the young middle infielder has delivered nothing short of spectacular results, batting .315/.398/.600 with 19 home runs, seven stolen bases (in nine chances), and a .998 OPS across 339 plate appearances. Given the additional measures he’s taken to improve his mechanics — something, Acee says, the Padres are far more interested in than his results at the plate — it seems he may be ready to handle the competition at the highest level on a long-term basis.

Urías is expected to be recalled in time for the Padres’ game against the Cubs on Saturday, where he’ll likely share the middle infield with fellow top prospect Fernando Tatís. The game is set for 2:20 PM EDT.