DENVER -- Reliever Austin Brice was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday as the Reds needed roster space for the recall of starting pitcher Sal Romano from Louisville to face the Rockies.Brice has a 5.65 ERA over 19 appearances in two stints this season with the Reds. He started out
DENVER -- Reliever Austin Brice was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday as the Reds needed roster space for the recall of starting pitcher Sal Romano from Louisville to face the Rockies.
Brice has a 5.65 ERA over 19 appearances in two stints this season with the Reds. He started out strongly with a 1.93 ERA in eight May games with seven hits, one walk and 11 strikeouts in 14 innings. But it's been a challenge for him since.
In his last 11 games, Brice has a 9.20 ERA with 26 hits, 15 runs, five walks, 10 strikeouts and five home runs over 14 2/3 innings.
"He hasn't been real sharp at really putting hitters away," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's been getting ahead of hitters this month but having more trouble putting them away. So he's going to go down and work on his two-strike pitch quality and continue to utilize his changeup to both left-handed and right-handed hitters."
Brice's demotion still leaves Cincinnati with an eight-man bullpen and four-man bench.
• Price has yet to set his rotation for the second half, which they will open at home vs. the Nationals on July 14 after the four-day All-Star break. The club will not need to have a fifth starter until July 18. It's known that Sunday's starter, Homer Bailey, will not turn around to open the second half.
"We'll take a look at it and see where we are," Price said. "There are certain guys we are going to want to give extended breaks to. I don't know how we're going to shuffle it at this point in time."
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.