While going 10-1 with a 3.08 ERA in 17 combined starts with Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Richmond this year, Reyes has caused a lot of people to talk about him. But other than knowing that he's left-handed, Cox knows little about this young hurler.
"I've never seen him," said Cox of Reyes, whose family's residence is just a short drive away from Dodger Stadium in Riverside, Calif.
Given that Reyes was still pitching at the Class A level at this time last year, there's obviously a reason Cox hasn't seen much of the young southpaw, who has fast-tracked his way to the Majors since missing half of the 2004 and 2005 seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
In the 44 starts he's made at three different Minor League levels since the start of the 2006 season, Reyes has gone 22-6 with a 3.34 ERA. In the 237 1/3 innings that have been completed in that span, he's surrendered 198 hits, registered 240 strikeouts and issued 106 walks.
After going 8-1 with a 3.56 ERA in 13 starts with Mississippi this year, Reyes was promoted to Richmond, where he has gone 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in four starts. Opponents have hit .241 against him this year.
Currently, Reyes is targeted to stay in the Majors until Smoltz returns after the All-Star break. The 40-year-old hurler returned to Atlanta on Thursday to have Braves physicians evaluate his right shoulder. He isn't scheduled to meet with them until Friday.
Smoltz, who believes he has been battling tendinitis that can be remedied with nearly two weeks of rest, is planning to return to the rotation on July 17. If that occurs, Reyes might make just one start for Atlanta before returning to Richmond.
While watching the Braves bullpen work 18 innings in a four-day span that began on Sunday, Pete Orr was gaining a sense his days in Atlanta were numbered. His fears were realized on Thursday afternoon when Cox told him he was being optioned to Richmond to make room for right-handed reliever Joey Devine.
"We need another pitcher for the next couple of days bad," Cox said. "I hate to do it, because Pete is one of my favorite guys and one of the best teammates our guys have ever had."
While Orr's unselfishness and ever-positive attitude have been nothing but assets, his lack of offensive production has been a bit of a burden over the past two years. Since hitting .300 (45-for-150) in his 2005 rookie season, the 28-year-old utility infielder has hit just .233 (49-for-210) with 10 RBIs. In 56 at-bats this year, he has batted .179 (10-for-56) and has a .207 on-base percentage.
This marks the first time since earning his surprise addition to the 2005 Opening Day roster that Orr has been sent back to the Minors. Unless a position player is placed on the disabled list, he'll have to stay there at least 10 days. Cox said there's at least a chance the veteran utility infielder could return to the Atlanta roster on July 15.
"That would be hopeful," Orr said. "But I'm not going to go down there just assuming that I'm going to be back. Hopefully, I come back. I'd love to play for the Braves and Bobby Cox again."
Another short stay for Devine?
This marks the third time this season that Devine has been recalled from Mississippi, and like his two previous visits to the Majors, this might be a short one. He'll likely be optioned back to open a spot on the 25-man roster for Reyes on Saturday.
Devine's two previous stints on the Atlanta roster this year totaled five days, during which he made just one appearance.
Earned day of rest:
With Devine available, Cox went into Thursday's series finale with no intention of calling on Rafael Soriano or Tyler Yates. Both right-handed relievers had worked four of the previous five days.
Just before Thursday's first pitch, All-Star catcher Brian McCann was scratched from the lineup with a sore right knee and replaced behind the plate with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
The Braves will begin a three-game series against the Padres at PETCO Park on Friday night at 10:05 p.m. ET. They'll send Buddy Carlyle (2-2, 4.74 ERA) to the mound to face Justin Germano (5-2, 3.12).