Garrett sent to Triple-A to limit innings

Garrett sent to Triple-A to limit innings

CINCINNATI -- Because he's been the best and most consistent member of the rotation the first month of the season, the Reds' decision to option rookie left-hander Amir Garrett to Triple-A Louisville on Sunday was initially an eyebrow-raiser.

But as manager Bryan Price reminded, moving the team's young starters in and out of the big leagues was part of the plan going into 2017 to keep innings totals under control. Also, the schedule played a part.

"We've got the day off after the Yankees series on Wednesday and then again on the following Monday, so we have the ability to skip a starter," Price said. "Amir's been our most effective starter to this point. But the thing we've had to keep our mind's eye on is his overall innings for the year. He pitched 145 last year in the Minor Leagues, so we're not going to take him to 200, to 190, 200, 210, 220."

To take Garrett's spot on the roster, reliever Barrett Astin was recalled from Louisville.

In six games for the Reds this season, Garrett went 3-2 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in a team-leading 36 innings. Besides one very rough start against Milwaukee, in which he allowed 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings, Garrett posted five quality starts.

"Amir knows that he'll be back," Price said. "We've tried to prepare all of our young guys for this scenario before we left [Spring Training in] Goodyear. I'm sure he's not happy about it, but it will be part of the process for these guys."

One added perk for the Reds that wasn't mentioned by Price is that by moving pitchers such as Garrett, or potentially Rookie Davis, to the Minors for a short period, the club can reduce their Major League service time that counts toward arbitration eligibility, thus gaining an added season of club control before free agency.

The organization plans to keep Garrett on a lighter schedule at Louisville.

"Probably tomorrow or the next day he will pitch maybe an inning, maybe two on the 12th and then he'll throw a bullpen after that," Price said. "Then we'll assess when he'll come back and pitch for us."

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.