CINCINNATI -- After he was unable to develop a pattern of consistency in their rotation, the Reds decided Sunday to option starting pitcher John Lamb to Triple-A Louisville. Who exactly takes Lamb's place in the rotation for his next start has not been revealed.
Outfielder Kyle Waldrop was recalled from Louisville to give manager Bryan Price an extra bat for the bench in the meantime. Lamb was 1-7 with a 6.43 ERA in 14 starts this season, including his allowing a career-high nine earned runs over two-plus innings in Saturday's 9-1 loss to the Brewers.
"We've got to get him back to pitching like he's capable of pitching. He knows it, it wasn't a big surprise," Price said. "He's had 14 starts and I believe strongly that he's certainly a better pitcher than he's shown during his time here. I'd like to get him back to throwing the ball well, executing better pitches and be ready to go. We'll utilize our Triple-A team to get him back to being sharp and competitive at this level."
Part of the Johnny Cueto trade with the Royals one year ago that also brought fellow lefty starters Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed, Lamb was 0-4 with an 8.44 ERA in his last seven starts -- including nine homers allowed in his last 32 innings. He often left pitches up in the strike zone. Meanwhile, Finnegan has struggled in his last couple of starts and Reed has yet to find success, or a victory, through six big league starts.
The Reds have some options for what would have been Lamb's next turn in the rotation. Because of an off-day on Thursday, the spot could be skipped and the other four starters could work on regular rest. However, Price generally likes to utilize those off-days to provide his starters extra rest. At Louisville, Robert Stephenson, the Reds' top pitching prospect, is starting on Sunday and could pitch against the D-backs on Friday on his regular rest. Stephenson, who has already made two spot starts in the big leagues this season, has been prone to walks in recent outings for Louisville, however.
"It's not a decision we have to make in the next 24 hours," Price said.
Homer Bailey, who is nearly ready to return from Tommy John surgery, isn't an option. Bailey is slated to make a rehab start on Wednesday for Louisville.
"Homer has another start to make for sure, and we'll contemplate possibly two starts," Price said. "That's yet to be defined. This move wasn't made to have Homer replace John in that slot. It was just made because we need to get John into a different environment to improve."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.