MILWAUKEE - There's no denying Elizardo Ramirez has brought stability to the Reds' rotation since being called up in late April, but a bit of roster management will put his next start on hold.
Ramirez was optioned to Dayton Wednesday night, immediately following his eighth quality start in 13 opportunities with the Reds. His spot will be filled Friday by Edwin Encarnacion, who will be activated from the 15-day DL.
There also are indications that outfielder Dewayne Wise could be joining the Reds today in Atlanta. General manager Wayne Krivsky wouldn't confirm or deny that Wednesday night, saying the Encarnacion move was the only announcement the Reds had.
Sending Ramirez down is designed to take advantage of the upcoming All-Star break, as the young right-hander will be able to stay on his regular rest with the Reds and Louisville off Monday. After being optioned out, Ramirez can't be brought back to the majors for 10 days unless an injury forces another pitcher onto the disabled list, but that window will allow him to come back on schedule the weekend after the break.
Encarnacion will rejoin the Reds after missing nearly a month with a sprained left ankle. When he does, Krivsky emphasized Wednesday, he will be playing third base. The question arose after Encarnacion started at first base Monday and Tuesday for the Bats, but Krivsky said not to read anything into it.
"It's just an opportunity to see what he looks like over there and give him some exposure at another position," said Krivsky. "We're not looking at him to be our first baseman. When he comes back, it's playing third."
Aside from an inning at first base earlier this season, all 106 of Encarnacion's big-league appearances have come at third, including 50 starts this year. The 23-year-old has played first base in winter ball, and he may end up moving to the opposite side of the diamond at some point in the future, as throwing from third has been a problem at times.
Wednesday night, Encarnacion was back at third for Louisville in the opening game of a doubleheader. He served as the designated hitter in the nightcap.
In 10 games with the Bats, Encarnacion hit .306 (11-for-36) with three doubles, one homer, one RBI, two walks and 11 strikeouts.
Wise has been with the Bats for just over two weeks. The 28-year-old, who last played in the majors for the Braves in 2004, has completed a long recovery from a serious ankle injury that ended his chances of making the Reds out of spring training. That March setback forced Wise to rehabilitate in Sarasota for more than two months before he was cleared to play.
He hit .420 in 13 games for Chattanooga before being promoted and is hitting .250 in 15 games at Louisville. He sat out the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader after going 0-for-3 in the opener.
If Wise is brought to the majors, veteran outfielder Quinton McCracken is a likely candidate to be designated for assignment.