Maloney to pitch Saturday

The easiest to figure out secret of the week is now official. Lefty Matt Maloney will make his big league debut and pitch on Saturday vs. the Cubs. Maloney was 4-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Louisville. He had a staff leading 67 1/3 innings and 58 strikeouts.

Besides earning the call-up with his numbers, the timing was perfect for Maloney. The 25-year-old will be pitching on his normal four days rest since he dealt a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts for the Bats on Monday. Homer Bailey pitched Tuesday and it wouldn’t have been prudent to have him work on short rest.

And for people who care about uniform numbers, Maloney will be wearing No. 56.

Maloney, who calls Columbus his hometown, was acquired in the deadline period trade that sent starting pitcher Kyle Lohse to the Phillies on July 30, 2007. Considering that the Phillies didn’t go far in the playoffs that season and  Lohse is now with the Cardinals, this is a plus-deal for the Reds and former GM Wayne Krivsky — especially if he can do well in the big leagues. Maloney is far from a power pitcher and throws his fastball in the mid-to-high 80s but relies on deception and off-speed.

In Spring Training, Maloney only pitched in two games and gave up four earned runs and six hits in three innings.

Trivia: Maloney will be only the second left-hander started for the Reds in 236 games. Adam Pettyjohn was the other when he started on the last day of the 2008 season vs. the Cardinals.

Reds lineup:

Hairston Jr. 5
Dickerson 8
Phillips 4
Bruce 9
Hernandez 3
Nix 7
Gonzalez 6
Hanigan 2
Harang 1

In other news, 3B Edwin Encarnacion could be close to heading out on a rehab assignment. Encarnacion was headed out to take another round on batting practice and has had no pain.

“When we get back home, they’ll check and see to where they can send me,” Encarnacion said. “When they say I’m ready, we’ll see where I am going to go. I am very excited. Now I know I can play. I feel no pain. I’m ready to go.”

Everywhere the Reds go on the road, manager Dusty Baker seems to have friends that visit his clubhouse office. On Thursday, it was former Giants starting pitcher Kirk Reuter, who lives across the border from St. Louis in Illinois. Baker wasn’t originally a fan of Reuter’s soft-tossing left-handed slop, even after he shutout the Giants in his big league debut with the Expos in 1993.

“He shut us out in his first start for Montreal. They asked me about and I said ‘we’ll see where he is in five years,'” Baker said. “In five years, he was playing for me.” (laughter, lots of it) He won some big games. He was a guy that could throw 90 pitches, 80 fastballs, and win.”

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