Jose Rijo says today's start is the biggest of his career.
The Reds' longtime ace is scheduled to face the Marlins, putting his pitching elbow to the test. He had a cortisone shot Monday to get rid of pain and inflammation that had disabled him and left him contemplating surgery. The right-hander felt no pain Saturday from his 52-pitch workout in the bullpen a day earlier.
The Reds hope cortisone and proper pitching technique can get Rijo through the season. They say he will be limited to 70-75 pitches today.
"This is going to be the most important start of my career, because I know what's going to happen if it doesn't do what I want it to do," Rijo said Saturday. "I kind of know what to expect if it doesn't go well: surgery."
Rijo's elbow got so sore from 11 pitches in a game June 17 that he agreed to get the shot, but so far the cortisone is working.
"It's unbelievable," Rijo said. "I don't want to use the word "numb,' but I want to use the word "funny.' It's funny _ there's no pain, no nothing. It's not a natural feeling, let's put it that way."