Davis follows Garrett to Triple-A in Reds' move

Right-hander the second rookie starter to be optioned this week

Davis follows Garrett to Triple-A in Reds' move

CINCINNATI -- The Reds optioned starting pitcher Rookie Davis to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday, two days after his last start vs. the Yankees. A corresponding move to take the 25-man roster spot will be announced on Thursday ahead of a four-game series opener vs. the Giants.

Davis, 24, was scheduled to pitch on Saturday at San Francisco.

In five big league starts, Davis was 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA and a 2.21 WHIP over 19 innings. He also missed some time on the disabled list with a bruised right forearm after he was hit by a pitch on April 11 at Pittsburgh.

Davis, who is the Reds' No. 16 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, has made three starts since being activated. He labored for 4 1/3 innings vs. the Yankees and gave up five runs (four earned) with seven hits, three walks and four strikeouts while throwing 91 pitches.

Pitch efficiency has been an issue in all of Davis' starts, and he has yet to get beyond the fifth inning. Although he struggled on Monday, especially with his slider, Reds manager Bryan Price seemed to show confidence that he would get better and continue to develop.

Davis is the second rookie starter to be sent out of the rotation this week. Lefty Amir Garrett was sent to Louisville on Sunday in an effort to limit his innings and because there are off-days in the schedule where the Reds won't need a fifth starter. Service time ahead of the arbitration eligibility was likely a factor as well, and that could be in play for Davis.

The Reds have limited options to replace Davis. One choice could be to move Robert Stephenson back into the rotation after he's pitched in the bullpen all season. Stephenson pitched three innings for his first career save to end Saturday's win over the Giants. Cody Reed was optioned to Louisville to work through struggles, and he did not fare well in his first outing. Garrett must remain with Louisville for at least 10 days, unless there is an injury.

At Double-A Pensacola, the Reds have Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo -- who are both pitching very well. Price recently expressed the organization's desire to have both prospects go to Triple-A first before a big league promotion. Mahle, who threw a perfect game already this season, is also not on the 40-man roster.

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.