Volquez surrendered two hits to the first two batters he faced Saturday against Potomac. After that, he retired nine straight, striking out three in his first start since June 2009. Volquez left the game after the third inning and the Hillcats went on to win 6-0.
The Hillcats send Volquez to the mound in Lynchburg's last home game before the All-Star Break. Thursday night's series finale with Kinston will start at 7:05.
In his first season with the Reds organization in 2008, Volquez debuted with the big league club and starred. He was the Reds' lone representative on the National League All-Star. He was 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA with 206 strikeouts in 196 innings. Volquez's strikeout total tied Gary Nolan for the most by a pitcher in his first season with the Reds, and was second in the national league at season's end.
The righty last threw June 1, 2009 for the Reds against St. Louis. He missed the rest of last season and had elbow reconstructive surgery August 3. Volquez was 4-2, with a 4.35 ERA in nine starts with Cincinnati last year.
Volquez was on the disabled list twice during the 2009 season. He missed more than a week from May 22-31 with back spasms. He was again put on the disabled list June 2 with a torn flexor mass and ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. That was his fifth trip to the disable list in eight seasons in professional baseball.
On April 20, Volquez was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. His suspension ends Sunday, and he will be pitching under a rehab assignment while under suspension.
He was originally signed by the Texas Rangers as a non-drafted free agent, October 29, 2001. He spent his first six years in the Rangers organization, making appearances with the big league club in each of his final three seasons (2005-07). He received the Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year Award as the best minor league pitcher in the Rangers' organization after going 14-6 with a 3.67 ERA with Class A Bakersfield, Class AA Frisco and Class AAA Oklahoma.
Volquez was traded to the Reds during the off-season following the 2007 campaign. Volquez and lefty Daniel Ray Herrera were acquired December 21 in exchange for OF Josh Hamilton.
2009 sent Volquez back to his home country. He pitched for the Dominican Republic in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and started the opener in the pool play preliminary round against the Netherlands. In three innings, he gave up three runs, none earned, two hits, two walks and struck out three. He was credited with the loss after his country fell 3-2. The Domincan Republic was eliminated by the Netherlands in qualifiers.
Volquez will be the second major leaguer to appear with the Hillcats this season. Bill Bray was with the team briefly. Bray made four appearances with the Hillcats. He didn't surrender a run in four and two-thirds innings pitched, and only let up one hit and walked two. Bray struck out nine. He was drafted with the 13th overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Montreal Expos, and pitched in the Carolina League in 2005 with Potomac.