Reds option Diaz, add Adcock to bullpen
CINCINNATI -- Trying to address the continuing problem of their bullpen not holding down leads, the Reds demoted one of the relievers struggling the most. On Sunday, the Reds optioned righty Jumbo Diaz to Triple-A Louisville and selected the contract of right-hander Nate Adcock from Louisville.
Diaz had a 6.65 ERA in 25 appearances this season, with 24 hits, five walks and five home runs allowed over his 23 innings of work. The 31-year-old made his Major League debut in 2014 after 12 years in the Minors and found success, but he couldn't carry his consistency into this season. Twice this week, he was unable to get the job done in the late innings.
On Tuesday at Philadelphia, he blew a two-run lead by giving up a game-tying two-run homer to Maikel Franco in the eighth inning before a loss. In Saturday's 9-7 defeat to the Padres, Diaz was the losing pitcher after allowing a leadoff double, a pair of two-out walks to load the bases and Matt Kemp's go-ahead two-run single in the eighth.
The Reds' bullpen, which entered Sunday ranked 14th out of 15 National League clubs in ERA, blew four leads in the six games before the roster move. The team has cycled through multiple eighth-inning setup men -- from Kevin Gregg, to Diaz to Tony Cingrani, who gave up the game-tying grand slam to Yonder Alonso in the seventh inning on Saturday.
Manager Bryan Price will likely use the improving J.J. Hoover in the eighth inning more often, but he also planned to use relievers based on matchups rather than defined roles.
"You only struggle so long before you make adjustments," Price said before the transaction was announced. "Coming into this season, there were going to be some growing pains. Cingrani was transitioning back into the bullpen and Diaz was going into his first full season in the big leagues and Hoover is coming off of a tough year. We didn't have Sam LeCure. … But we're a third of the way through the season now. There has to be more of a defined role for this group, and it's still very ambiguous in my opinion. We should be better by now, so you have to look at all of the other options."
Adcock, 27, pitched parts of three seasons with the Royals (2011-12) and Rangers ('14) and had a 3.86 ERA in 43 games. Signed to a Minor League deal and invited to Spring Training by the Reds, he pitched well for Louisville this season. In 22 games, Adcock was 0-2 with a 2.96 ERA and 11 saves in 16 opportunities.
"I've been real happy," Adcock said. "I've basically been trying to stay consistent and do the same thing they told me in Spring Training -- keep that late-life sink, try to keep the ball down, try to force ground balls and early contact. It's been working out."
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Reds released Louisville righty Matt Magill. Acquired in the December trade that sent outfielder Chris Heisey to the Dodgers, Magill had season-ending Tommy John surgery on his elbow May 8.