(AP) — Dylan Axelrod has fared well in the minor leagues since joining the Cincinnati Reds’ organization and now he has another opportunity to show what he can do in the majors.
He’ll make his club debut Saturday night when the visiting Reds and Colorado Rockies continue a four-game set.
Cincinnati (61-61) announced Thursday that Homer Bailey, slated to start Saturday, is headed to the disabled list with a strained right elbow.
That opened up a slot for Axelrod, who went 7-13 with a 5.36 ERA the previous three seasons for the Chicago White Sox in 48 appearances – 30 starts. He spent this year in Chicago’s organization at Triple-A Charlotte before he was dealt to the Reds on July 17 for future considerations.
Axelrod went 6-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 16 starts and two relief appearances at Charlotte. Since the trade, he has gone 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Louisville.
“I’m throwing the ball well,” Axelrod told MLB’s official website. “Everything feels like it’s coming together mechanically and mentally. I have a lot of confidence right now.”
The right-hander has never faced Colorado, although he has experience against two of its hitters. Justin Morneau is 5 for 8 against him and Drew Stubbs 3 for 9.
Axelrod will have to follow a terrific effort Friday by Johnny Cueto, who became baseball’s first 15-game winner with eight strong innings in a 3-2 victory.
Kris Negron had a career-high four hits, including a tiebreaking single in the ninth as the Reds snapped a three-game skid.
Cincinnati could have both of its top run producers back in the starting lineup after neither Todd Frazier nor Devin Mesoraco started Friday. They are tied for the team lead with 20 homers.
Frazier was out with a balky back, which he hurt after hitting a ball off the end of his bat. He leads the team with 64 RBIs and is day to day.
Mesoraco has 63 RBIs and had started eight straight games before he was rested, although he grounded out as a pinch hitter.
Colorado (47-75) lost for the 15th time in 19 games. Morneau singled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games – a run in which he is batting .459.
Corey Dickerson also has a 10-game run in which he is hitting .410 with three homers and 12 RBIs.
Colorado could use some length out of Saturday starter Jordan Lyles (6-1, 3.70 ERA). Franklin Morales was a late scratch from his scheduled outing Friday and the Rockies used five relievers for six innings after Matt Belisle pitched three.
Lyles makes his third start after missing two months with a fractured left hand. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA since returning.
Lyles is 3-1 with a 5.22 ERA in five career starts against the Reds, beating them May 10 by allowing two runs in six innings in an 11-2 rout.
Zack Cozart is 5 for 9 with a homer and two doubles off him. The shortstop has baseball’s third-worst OPS at .573.
The Reds’ Jay Bruce is hitless in nine at-bats in this series and hitting .184 against Colorado for his worst mark against any NL club.
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