Reds send Reed to Louisville, recall Brice

Reds send Reed to Louisville, recall Brice

CINCINNATI -- Before Wednesday's game against the Pirates, Reds manager Bryan Price met with lefty pitcher Cody Reed and talked about the need to get him into more games while also letting him know he needs to have more command and reliability.

In the Reds' 7-2 win on Wednesday, Reed walked four in two innings and gave up Andrew McCutchen's two-run homer on a 2-0 pitch. On Thursday morning, the club optioned Reed to Triple-A Louisville and recalled right-handed reliever Austin Brice.

"The one message we want to send to everybody in our organization is you have to be able to throw strikes," Price said. "That's the No. 1 prerequisite to coming to the Major Leagues. You have to be able to throw strikes. He can. He struggled. I don't know if it's pitching out of the bullpen. I don't know what it is specifically that's allowed him to struggle a bit with his command this year compared to what we see in Spring Training a year ago and again this spring."

A promising starting pitcher, Reed had a 6.43 ERA in seven appearances, including one start. He didn't allow a hit or run over his first four appearances, all in relief. But the 24-year-old allowed seven earned runs over two innings in a start vs. the Cubs, and three runs over his next two appearances, a stretch of four innings. Overall, Reed allowed 10 runs over his last six innings, with 11 walks.

Reed will be stretched out to get starts at Louisville, but he will be an option down the road as a starter or reliever if there is a need on the big league club.

"He can't be here a whole year and average 10 innings a month," Price said. "That wouldn't be enough."

Brice, 24, was part of the trade that sent starting pitcher Dan Straily to the Marlins in January. He did not fare well in Spring Training and later revealed he had a sore elbow, which was diagnosed as an irritation of the ulnar nerve.

In nine appearances for Louisville and Double-A Pensacola, Brice had a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings. His velocity, which dipped to 89-90 mph in camp, has returned to the mid-90s.

"I know it's a weird thing to say, but I think I kind of needed the setback," said Brice, the organization's No. 22 prospect. "Spring Training was just tough for me, recovery-wise. I wasn't bouncing back like I wanted to. The elbow certainly wasn't helping things. I just kind of need to find my stroke again and just get back into it."

Brice struck out more than a batter per nine in his first taste of the Majors, last season with Miami, but he also had 7.07 ERA in 15 appearances.

"I don't think he was representing himself very well initially [in camp], because he was trying to pitch through something we didn't know about," Price said. "Since then, he's gotten his arm in shape, he's throwing better. Good command."

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.