Jose “Jumbo” Diaz immediately became one of the biggest Reds when he entered the clubhouse Friday — he doesn’t have that nickname because of an ironic reason. He might also have the best story.
Thirteen years after signing with the Dodgers, after playing parts of 12 seasons in the minors and making 340 appearances, the 6-foot-4, 30-year-old Diaz was called up from Triple-A Louisville to take Tony Cingrani’s roster spot before the start of a three-game series against the Blue Jays at Great American Ball Park.
Diaz was in the shower early Friday morning, getting ready for a flight to Gwinnett County, Ga., with the Bats when he got the call. He saw three missed calls on his phone when he got out of the shower and thought, “Who’s calling me this morning? It’s so early.”
It was Bats manager Ted Power, who told him the news.
“I’m so excited,” Diaz said. “I was talking two weeks ago with my wife. I signed with the Dodgers in 2001 on May 14. I told my wife it’s 13 years later, and I’m still fighting to get the call, working hard every day.”
Diaz saved 18 games with Louisville and had a 1.35 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. He was almost as good last season, posting a 1.66 ERA in 54 1/3 innings.
Diaz dropped almost 50 pounds in the offseason, going from 330-340 pounds to 280. He said now he can pitch on back-to-back days more easily. He almost made the team in spring training. The Reds told him to keep working hard, and he’d have a chance to get to Cincinnati.
Now he gets that chance.
“I’m having a very good season so far,” Diaz said. “I hope I can do the same here. I’ll try to do my best: throw strikes, get ahead of the hitters.”
More moves: The Reds made two other moves Friday. They transferred pitchers Trevor Bell and Sean Marshall to the 60-day disabled list.
Price said Bell may need Tommy John surgery. Bell made the team as a non-roster invitee in spring training. He made two appearances in April before being sidelined with right elbow inflammation.
Marshall needs his elbow cleaned out, Price said, and they’ll know more about his availability for the rest of the season after the surgery. Marshall has been on the DL since June 14.
Encarnacion returns: This series marks the return of Edwin Encarnacion to Cincinnati. The former Reds third baseman ranks second in baseball with 21 home runs.
Encarnacion made his big league debut with the Reds in 2005. In 2008, he hit 26 home runs, but the next season, he suffered a broken wrist that sidelined him for two months. On July 31, 2008, the Reds traded him to the Blue Jays along with pitchers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart for Scott Rolen.
Encarnacion had a breakout year in 2012, hitting 42 home runs.
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