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Reds send Partch to minors; Broxton almost ready

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds reconfigured their bullpen before the second game of their series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, optioning reliever Curtis Partch to Triple-A Louisville.

They also got some encouraging news on set-up man Jonathan Broxton, who threw 15 pitches in the bullpen and reported that his elbow felt fine. Broxton has been on the disabled list since June 15 with a sore elbow.

The Reds called up Pedro Villarreal to take Partch’s spot in the bullpen until Broxton is ready to return, which could be next week. Broxton expects to pitch again on Sunday, then have a day to see how the elbow reacts.

“I felt good about today,” Broxton said. “We’ll see tomorrow and go from there.”

Broxton began a minor league rehabilitation stint this week and made one appearance for Louisville. He threw to batters in the bullpen on Saturday, simulating an inning.

“That’s positive,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He looked pretty good. His command was better than it was last time. As long as he feels good, that’s a big plus.”

The Reds also are missing left-handed set-up specialist Sean Marshall, sidelined since May 24 with a sore left shoulder.

The Reds decided to send Partch back to the minors a day after he had a rough time. He relieved starter Bronson Arroyo in the fourth inning and walked the first three batters he faced, two of them with the bases loaded. Then, he gave up a two-run double to Jon Jay that made it 9-0.

The Reds lost 13-3. Partch gave up five runs while getting four outs. The 39,095 fans at Great American Ball Park booed as the 26-year-old rookie struggled and Baker let him face more batters, not wanting to burn up his bullpen in the series opener with the game out of hand.

“You know what’s really hard is sitting there and watching a young man get scalded like that,” Baker said. “People don’t understand. I can understand how they don’t understand: ‘Get him out of there and get somebody (else).’ I can go through my whole pitching staff.”

Partch was 0-1 with a 5.89 ERA in 11 appearances. Pedro Villarreal is in his third stint with the Reds this season. His only appearance was an emergency start on June 5 in place of the injured Johnny Cueto, a 12-4 loss to Colorado.