I have written a blog about why Volquez is ahead of shedule and not behind schedule and how the Reds made bad assumptions about him and used him improperly too soon, before he had "paid his dues" from Tommy John Surgery.
Finally the Reds decide I'm right- Volquez does not belong in a title race 11 to 12 months after TJ Surgery. BUT THEY STILL DON'T GET IT.
Volquez IS recovered in reguard to strength and endurance- he could pitch 7 to 9 innings every game. He is stronger than he was pre surgery.
What he lacks is that CONSISTANT pin point control. He had it game one, and the Reds "fell for it" and rushed him into a situation for which he was not ready.
Looking at the data, it will take Volquez 6 more months to obtain the consistant control to go along with his strenght and endurance. How will putting him the bullpen help him in that regard? It won't. He needs to be pitching and starting IN THE MINOR LEAGUES OR SOMEWHERE ELSE UNTIL HE IS READY. He is absolutely of no use as a reliever on a team competing for a division title. He is also getting cheated out of the 6 months he needs to get consistent and be ready for next year.
Its like "throwing good money after bad". The Reds made a mistake pushing him into the rotation so soon, so now they compound the mistake by keeping with the team and giving him a limited role and telling him to "work out his problems" as a reliever.
VOLQUEZ'S ONLY PROBLEM IS THE REDS. He is ahead of schedule and the Reds risk destroying his confidence by making him think there is something wrong with his progress. He needs to be told he is doing great but that it will take him longer to be better than he was.
If the Reds do not destroy Volquez by "messing with his head" as they have done with so many other pitchers, I would predict that Volquez will be a top 5 MLB Starter- but NEXT YEAR. He never had a role this year and does not have a role now. Medically it is too soon.