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08/04/08 7:29 PM ET
Reyes could get rotation call soon
Right-hander ahead of Laffey for next Indians opportunity
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- With all due respect to Matt Ginter, he's never been viewed as a major piece of the Indians' future rotation plans. Anthony Reyes, on the other hand, is a potential part of that picture, and, as such, he might be with the Tribe soon. Reyes, acquired from the Cardinals for Minor League reliever Luis Perdomo on July 26, made his second start for Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday and turned in a gem. The 26-year-old Reyes went eight innings against Syracuse, allowing just a run on five hits with four strikeouts to improve to 2-0 with the Bisons. "His fastball was consistently at 92-94 [mph]," pitching coach Carl Willis said. "The thing he's done in both outings is maintain his fastball velocity throughout. From what I'm hearing in Buffalo, he's a very competitive kid who competes well." As for when Reyes will be competing with the Indians, the club is tight-lipped, at the moment. But it's conceivable that Reyes could be in the rotation as early as next week. Because of Thursday's off-day, the Indians won't need their fifth starter again until Aug. 12. And, of course, a Paul Byrd waiver trade could open up an opportunity in the starting rotation at any point this month. Manager Eric Wedge said Reyes will be up "sooner than later," before adding, with a laugh, "That's vague, but it's precisely vague." Wedge said he expects Reyes will be up before September callups, when roster sizes expand. "But you've got to be careful putting timetables on things," Wedge said. Reyes' time ran out with the Cardinals. Though he was once the organization's top prospect and the winning pitcher in Game 1 of the 2006 World Series, Reyes fell out of favor during a 2007 season in which he went 2-14. He opened this season in the Cards' bullpen and went 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 10 appearances before going on the disabled list in June with a sprained right elbow. It has been reported that Reyes had a rift with the Cardinals' coaching staff, particularly pitching coach Dave Duncan. "I don't pay much attention to that," Willis said, "because we feel we can communicate with anybody and work that out. Sometimes a change of scenery is good. There's potential for a good opportunity for him here." Reyes is ahead of Aaron Laffey in the pecking order for the next opportunity in the rotation, because the Indians want Laffey, who was optioned out on July 26, to get straightened out at Buffalo before he comes back up. Laffey was scheduled to make his first start with the Bisons on Monday night. The Indians previously had him throw two side sessions in lieu of starting to work on some mechanical problems the youngster had developed with the Tribe. Wedge said the Indians don't believe the 180-pound Laffey was wearing down from the grind of the big league season. So the work days were more about mechanics than rest. Ginter claimed the departed Laffey's rotation spot last month but has given up nine earned runs over 10 innings in his last two starts.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.