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Dragons rotation to get less crowded

The Dayton Dragons have more starters than their five-man rotation will fit.

It’s a problem that started when Sal Romano took a line drive off his foot and made a short visit to the disabled list two weeks ago. On came Cincinnati Reds 2012 first-round draft pick Nick Travieso from extended spring training to replace Romano, who is now off the disabled list. That means right-hander Pedro Diaz will eventually join the bullpen as a long reliever, at least in most cases.

“We always have a long reliever, just in case something happens to one of the other (starters),” Dayton manager Jose Nieves said. “It was important especially in the beginning of the year when we had some starters only going three innings. Now that isn’t the case. Romano has pitched five innings, Travieso pitched long in his last start and Cisco is always going long. We have to protect arms, especially in this atmosphere and especially with young guys like Travieso.”

That might settle questions, but only temporarily. Another question is whether Robert Stephenson is promoted soon.

Stephenson is 4-0 in his last six starts with 50 strikeouts, five walks and a 0.93 ERA over 38.2 innings. He has been in Dayton since late last season and has been overwhelming the low-A batters he faces over the last month and a half. He should make one more start before the Midwest League all-star break, which begins Monday. He’s also a member of the Eastern Division all-star team, to be played in Dayton on June 18.

Hudson takes it on the knee: Joe Hudson took a ball off his knee during warm-ups prior to Dayton’s 14-4 loss at Fort Wayne on Monday. He tried to play, but had trouble blocking balls and left early. He was diagnosed with an inflamed knee.

This put back-up Brandon Dailey in the lineup Tuesday, a converted infielder who was with Dayton last year. His back-up will be recent call-up Daniel Pigott, an outfielder and a ninth-round Reds pick from last year who played catcher in high school and warmed up pitchers in the bullpen at Billings last year. Hudson isn’t expected to miss much time.

Arias lighting it up: Junior Arias is batting .344 over his last 24 games, raising his season average from .211 to .270. He has 33 stolen bases, which is the third-highest season total in Dragons history.

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