Cincinnati Reds notes: JC Ramirez joins bullpen

JC Ramirez called his mom in Nicaragua when he got the call to join the Cincinnati Reds on Friday at Great American Ball Park. He pitched in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013 and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners in 2015, but his mom reacted as if he were going to the majors for the first time.

She cried.

Ramirez, a 27-year-old right-hander, is the latest player from Triple-A Louisville who will get a chance to help the bullpen. After being no-hit by Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta on Thursday and losing 16-0, the Reds saw their bullpen ERA climb to 6.75, worst in baseball.

Ramirez took the roster spot of Tim Melville, a starter turned reliever who was designated for assignment. Keyvious Sampson, another reliever, joined Louisville’s roster after being designated for assignment Monday.

Ramirez threw six scoreless innings in five appearances for Louisville.

“When we signed him, we looked really hard at why he wasn’t having success in the big leagues — you would think he would have with his kind of stuff,” manager Bryan Price said. “A lot of it was how he used his pitches, what sides of the plate he used and where he got in trouble. We identified that. That was really the challenge we gave to him when he was sent to Louisville, to go out there and make the changes.”

Bailey's start: In his first rehab appearance for Louisville, Homer Bailey allowed two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Thursday against Indianapolis. He struck out six, walked two and threw 67 pitches. He's scheduled to start Tuesday for Double-A Pensacola.

“From a medical standpoint, I thought everything was coming out pretty good,” Bailey said. “It doesn’t surprise me. I was more focused on where I was throwing the ball and the secondary pitches. This is very similar to a spring training game. That’s kind of what it is for me. It’s just about building up the innings.”

Cold bat: First baseman Joey Votto entered the second game of the series against the Cubs on Friday in an 0-for-19 slump, the longest hitless streak of his career. With no hits in five straight games his average dropped to .172 and his on-base percentage fell to .258.

Next game: Dan Straily (0-0, 2.70) starts the third game of the series against the Cubs' John Lackey (3-0, 3.66) at 7:10 p.m. Saturday. Straily made his first start of the season Monday and allowed one run in five innings in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.