Left-hander Aroldis Chapman was on the team plane to Baltimore. He could be activated for tonight's game. The Reds also have to make a move to get Homer Bailey back on the active roster. He is likely to start Sunday's game against Baltimore.
Chapman's numbers with Louisville are still pretty ugly -- particularly the 11.77 ERA -- but he's walked only two batters in 5-2/3 innings, which is a welcome switch from the wildness that got him sent down and placed on the DL. Chapman hasn't pitched for the Reds since the 15th of May; that outing was the last in a startling four-appearance stretch in which he walked 12 of the 19 batters he faced.
Meanwhile, Bailey is taking Travis Wood's place in the rotation. This must be rough news for Wood, who hasn't pitched as well he did last season but has pitched better than his 5.11 ERA might suggest.
Since Chapman has reached the maximum number of days (30) that he can be on a rehab assignment, this means he’ll likely be optioned to Triple-A so he can continue to work on coming back. Chapman threw a scoreless inning Tuesday night and has now run a scoreless streak to six innings, but the Reds apparently feel he’s not quite ready to return to the major leagues.
The Reds are struggling, having lost three of their last four, and stand just two games over .500 at 38-36, third in the NL Central, just 2.5 games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers, but also only 1.5 games ahead of the fourth-place Pittsburgh Pirates. They clearly need Chapman to be 100% ready before his return to Cincinnati.
Smith began the year with the Reds and made 14 relief appearances covering 17 innings, posting a 5.79 ERA. He was optioned to Louisville on May 5 when tonight’s starter, Homer Bailey, was activated from the disabled list. Smith made four appearances at Louisville, throwing 3.2 innings without allowing a run. He also pitched briefly for the Reds last year.
"His arm slot gets too low," Price said. "He gets across the ball. He's pulling a lot of balls inside to right-handed hitters."
Confidence can also play into it when you struggle. Chapman has walked eight batters in his last three outings and has only gotten three outs.
"I think the first part is a slight mechanical adjustment. The second part is that when he's out there, he's pitching with his confidence. When you struggle a while, you start to question yourself a little bit. I don't know that he's there, but I know it's a typical response."
Physically, Price said, Chapman is fine.
Over the course of less than 24 hours, Chapman went from "fine" to "placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation", according to this tweet from the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan: