CINCINNATI (AP) The Cincinnati Reds scratched right-hander Alfredo Simon from his scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night because of biceps tendinitis, the latest setback to a depleted rotation that's going day to day.
Cincinnati called up rookie Robert Stephenson from Triple-A Louisville to start in Simon's place. The Reds' top pick in the June 2011 amateur draft made his major league debut and beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the third game of the season, and then was sent back to Louisville.
Reliever Jumbo Diaz was optioned to Louisville to open a roster spot. Diaz gave up a three-run homer in the eighth inning of Colorado's 5-1 win on Monday night.
The Reds signed Simon as a free agent during spring training to help their injury-depleted rotation. He didn't pitch much during spring training after being released by the Detroit Tigers, but the Reds thought he could quickly build up his endurance and hold down a spot until some of their injured starters return.
Instead, he faded fast. Simon retired only two of the nine batters he faced - the shortest start of his career - during a 9-2 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday. He also pitched in relief on Friday during a 14-3 loss in St. Louis.
Manager Bryan Price said Simon has been bothered by a sore biceps since the start of the season but hadn't said anything. He received an injection, and the Reds are hoping he'll be able to start on Sunday against the Cubs.
''It came to light late last night,'' Price said. ''He's had it dating back to his first start against Pittsburgh. He didn't let us know. A lot of pitchers do that.
''No one at this point feels like it's going to require the disabled list.''
Simon thought he could continue pitching, but the team recommended getting an injection of anti-inflammatory drugs to help it heal.
''I just want to pitch,'' Simon said. ''They didn't want me to hurt my arm. They didn't want it to get worse. That's why I got an injection.''
Diaz pitched in eight games and gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings, including three homers.
Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay