Volquez could miss a start

Volquez could miss a start

CINCINNATI -- The back spasms that prematurely ended Reds starter Edinson Volquez's last outing haven't gone away. Now, Volquez could miss his next start entirely.

"I was feeling it. I threw only a couple of pitches and still felt it on my left side," Volquez said on Wednesday about his side bullpen session.

Volquez immediately cut short his session and later went into Reds manager Dusty Baker's office to suggest he shouldn't make his next start on Saturday vs. the Indians.

"I don't think so," Volquez said. "I told Dusty that it'd be better if I missed a start. I don't want to go at like 70 percent. That's no good for me or the team. He said he'd talk to [pitching coach] Dick Pole about it."

This season in eight starts, Volquez is 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA. During Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Padres in 16 innings, the 25-year-old left after mid-back spasms grabbed him in the sixth inning.

"It's a lot better than last time," Volquez said of his current soreness.

Originally, Volquez was supposed to start again on Friday vs. Cleveland. Upon hearing that his pitcher was still hurting, Baker moved him back a day and had Bronson Arroyo slated to pitch on Friday. Arroyo, who last started on Sunday at San Diego, will still be pitching on his regular four days rest.

"I was hoping to give him an extra day but that didn't work," Baker said.

That decision was made, however, before Volquez talked to Baker.

"The main thing in baseball -- you have to adjust and then re-adjust," Baker said prior his chat with Volquez.

It looks like Baker will be heeding his own words if Volquez is, in fact, out. Ramon Ramirez, a starter who was just called up from Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday to work from the bullpen, is a viable in-house candidate to take Volquez's place for a spot start if needed. After Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Phillies, Baker said no decision was made about Volquez but the pitcher is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Thursday morning.

Last season, Volquez was a 17-game winner and a first time All-Star. He struggled when the season started, but had back-to-back eight scoreless-inning outings on April 29 vs. the Astros and May 5 against the Marlins.

Ramirez was 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA in seven starts for Louisville this season and started four games last season for Cincinnati in the Majors. The Reds have used only five starting pitchers through their first 39 games this season, their longest streak to begin a season since 1994.

In other medical news, first baseman Joey Votto had a doctor's appointment Wednesday morning and was at another doctor in the afternoon. There is still no word on what has caused his dizziness but the club expected the results of all of Votto's tests to be in Thursday. An updated will be provided then.

Votto was not viewed as an option off the bench as a pinch-hitter because of his condition. Plus, if he had to go on the disabled list, the Reds would not want to prolong his time out by using Votto in a game when he wasn't 100 percent.

Because of either the flu or dizziness, Votto has missed seven starts since May 7. Regular catcher Ramon Hernandez took his place at first base on Wednesday vs. the Phillies.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.