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Tim Hudson, Kyle Davies, and Chuck James are penciled in to finish out the series against the Dodgers and for the first game when the Padres come to town and after that we have a big question mark that has yet to be answered. Who gets the call with Redman thankfully placed on the DL? AJC had reported earlier that Anthony Lerew would get the call once Redman's spot in the rotation came around, but Mark Bowman refuted that there was any indication so far that Lerew would start. There are four legitimate options that we will be looking at: Oscar Villareal, Anthony Lerew, Trey Hodges, and Matt Harrison. Fortunately this isn't going to be lopsided matchup with the Padres sending Justin Germano to the mound in place of Clay Hensley, who was placed on the DL earlier this week.
Assuming Oscar Villareal isn't needed for a multiple inning relief appearance (with Davies pitching, that isn't a guarantee), he could make a very good option. Villareal has five starts on his career and four with the Braves last year where he was very impressive. It just looked like he was more comfortable starting the game then he was coming in in relief. Of course Villareal looked a lot more comfortable coming out of the pen last year then now, when he seems to hang just about everything. I am in favor of moving Villareal to the rotation permanently since Peter Moylan has shown quite enough ability to be a very effective long-man out of the pen.
The one that I would still bet on making the start is Anthony Lerew. He has found very little success in his couple cups of coffee with Atlanta and even less success last year due to control and maturity issues. Everything has turned around in 2007. Everything has been working for Lerew in Richmond. He has traded in the straight fastball he just tried to blow past everyone for a more effective sinker and has limited hits, walks, BAA, and still keeps a respectable amount of strikeouts. One problem has been a rather high pitch count, but I don't think Bobby will be expecting anything more than five innings from whoever gets the ball, and certainly not a problem with the bullpen in the shape it is in.
Hodges, a friend of Chop-n-Change has come charging back at of relative obscurity for the past few years and is pitching great for Richmond as a starter. He has a .167 BAA, has only allowed 11 hits in over 20 innings, and is getting almost two ground outs for every fly ball out. The problem that is keeping him from being the favorite is his control; he has walked more than hits he has allowed. He is a long shot but he is the only candidate in the minors that has real major league experience. That is what we heard about Redman, so that doesn't guarantee success.
The last option is Matt Harrison. Most people don't consider him a legitimate option because he is only in AA, but Bobby has never been afraid to throw a top prospect into a sort of trial by fire due to injury as we saw by Francoeur, McCann, Saltalamacchia, and Kyle Davies' callup. Most pitchers in AA are arms that need refinement either in their command or pitches, but Harrison is a very advanced pitcher for his age and level that could probably make a successful transition to the majors. Harrison has everything that usually leads to struggling in young pitchers. We see starters like Mike Pelfrey that fail in the majors because they rely on one pitch, but He has a repertoire of plus pitches with his fastball, curve, and very good change that he can go to at any time and keeps hitters from waiting on one. Control is another problem the plagues young guys but he is a pitcher that nibbles at the corner with great command, and then his ground ball tendencies (3 ground outs for every one fly ball out) that will translate well into major league success. The 21-year old has over 11o innings in AA, which has taken over as the advanced prospect organization for many clubs so he isn't a guy like Rick Vanden Hurk who is making an enormous jump. The question is do they believe he is ready though, and obviously John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox are going to have a lot more information and reports to use than I do.
Redman getting hurt could be a good thing for the team. One of these guys could secure themself as the fourth or fifth starter and either send Redman packing or allow Davies to get some much needed work in for regaining his composure, confidence, and control on the mound. Every option is better than Redman, so I am happy.