CINCINNATI -- The Reds found themselves down a fifth starter Wednesday when pitcher Eric Milton went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left elbow.
It immediately opened speculation over whether top pitching prospect Homer Bailey would get called up to be Milton's replacement for this Sunday's game at Los Angeles.
Milton, who is 0-4 with a 5.17 ERA in six starts, gave up four earned runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings and got a no-decision in Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Astros. The left-hander said his elbow started barking early in Tuesday's game after he tried to throw a slider.
"It didn't feel too good," Milton said. "I had been struggling with the elbow all the way back to last year. Last night, I thought was something more serious and needed to be checked out."
Milton, 31, had two stints on the DL last season, including one for a sore elbow that required arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 22. Because of that, team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek ordered an MRI exam that ultimately revealed the inflammation from a sprain.
"It was nothing serious," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said.
Milton, who had allowed 11 first-inning runs over his last five starts, will be shut down from throwing for 7-10 days. His fastball velocity during the past few starts had hovered mostly in the 84-86 mph range.
"It's definitely down," Milton said. "I'd like to get it taken care of and come back and get better. I'm searching for answers. It's not fun to deal with. I just want to be pain free and healthy."
Reliever Jared Burton was summoned from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville and gives the beleaguered Cincinnati bullpen eight relievers for the time being. Another move is expected this weekend when the club names a starter on Sunday.
I think they should give Homer his shot, but I'm not sure they will. Why mess with the kid's development schedule for a last place team? Then again, would he give us the shot in the arm we need to get into the chase? It is still extremely early in the season...