Cincinnati Reds: Edinson Volquez's Return Essential To Pennant Quest

Will FrasureCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2010

After recovering from Tommy John surgery and serving a 50-game suspension, Edinson Volquez finally made his much anticipated debut Saturday against the Rockies.

The former Reds' ace didn't disappoint. In six innings, he only gave up one run on three hits and looked like the player that dominated in 2008.

Mixing his 95 mile-per-hour fastball with his always dangerous changeup and an improved slider, Volquez overcame a tough first inning to strike out nine Rockies on the night.

Overall, it looked like the surgery worked wonders for the starter. He hit 97 mph on some pitches, faster than what he hit before the injury. He struggled mightily in the beginning of 2009, but seems to have put that behind him.

His return is a win-win situation for the Reds. Not only do they get one of their top pitchers back, but they might not have to make a trade for big-time pitcher to bolster the rotation.

Volquez's debut felt like a player making his first start following a big-time trade. The sold-out crowd of 41,000 was electric.

His return could be the final addition needed to keep up with the Cardinals in the division. No offense to Travis Wood or Sam LeClure, but Volquez offers a lot more at the end of the Reds rotation.

With Volquez back and the possible addition of Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen, the Reds would have the pitching strength to keep the wins coming. The Reds should take a page out of the Tampa Bay Rays' book by putting Chapman in the bullpen like the Rays did with David Price late in 2008.

Volquez gives the Reds a good chance to win whenever he takes the mound. If Saturday wasn't a fluke, hitters will have a hard time getting anything done against Volquez.

Hopefully Volquez is that final piece in the playoff puzzle. His timing could not have come at a better time with Cincinnati in the midst of a division race.

With that said, welcome back Edinson. You've been sorely missed.

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