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Broxton rejoins bullpen, though unlikely to pitch eighth

CINCINNATI -- After spending nearly two months on the disabled list with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow, Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton was activated before Wednesday's game against the A's. For Broxton, his return could not have come soon enough.

"I hated being on the DL," Broxton said. "But I had to do my time down there. It was a struggle the last seven or eight weeks. I'm down for the home stretch and looking forward to helping the team win."

To make room for Broxton on the 25-man roster, Pedro Villarreal was optioned back to Triple-A Lousiville.

Before his comeback, Broxton made two rehab starts for Louisville, allowing five hits and striking out three in two scoreless innings. He felt confident before Wednesday's game against the A's that his injury was behind him, and he was excited to pitch in a Reds uniform for the first time since giving up the deciding run in a 6-5 loss to the Cubs on June 13.

"We're excited to have him," manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm not sure we're going to throw him right back in the eighth inning or not, because [J.J. Hoover] is doing so good. We were patient with Hoover. Early in the year, [fans] were about ready to hang Hoover -- and [Manny Parra]. Sometimes you got to wait on them. We'll probably put Broxton in sometime shortly before them."

Broxton rejoins a bullpen that still performed well without him and injured lefty Sean Marshall. Hoover especially has been effective, as he often took on Broxton's usual setup duties. Beginning with Broxton's June 13 loss to the Cubs, Hoover had made 18 straight scoreless appearances (20 2/3 innings) entering Wednesday, striking out 26 and walking just seven.

"The bullpen's done a great job picking up my slack," Broxton said. "It's time for me to come back and help them out."

Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for
Read More: Cincinnati Reds, Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Villarreal