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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Reds Ready To Start Cactus League Tuesday

Opening Day Starter

It would seem that Anthony DeSclafani, who tied for the National League lead in starts last season, would be the first choice.  Bryan Price would not name an opening day starter but did release the order in which projected starters will work in spring games.

Jon Moscot and Brandon Finnegan will pitch in the first game Tuesday against Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin.  Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed pitch Wednesday also against Cleveland.  DeSclafani and Jonathan Sanchez face the Indians in the third game.  Michael Lorenzen and Tim Melville will pitch against the San Francisco Giants on Friday.  Finnegan will start against the Cubs on Saturday.  Moscot will pitch again in the sixth game Sunday against Colorado.

In their first start the pitchers will most likely pitch one inning unless the inning is so pitch efficient they need another one.

“We didn’t want Finnegan to wait until the fifth day to get his first start,” Price said.  “When they only go one or two innings, you can bring them back on three days rest.”

The lineup indicates that DeSclafani’s turn will come up on opening day.

Raisel Iglesias Behind

The Reds shutdown Raisel Iglesias on September 13 with shoulder fatigue.  The Reds started the throwing program for Iglesias later than other pitchers. Price expects Iglesias to be stretched out in time for his first start of the season, should he earn a spot in the Reds’ starting rotation.

“He’s throwing great,” Price said.  “He’s closer to the middle of the month (for pitching in games) than the end. We will have adequate time to get him fully stretched out by the time he will make his first start.”

Iglesias is likely to be at the end of the rotation to allow a couple extra days.

Cody Reed Impressive

The Reds had live batting practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Pitchers throw as the would in a game to hitters with no defense and a batting cage.

Cody Reed was hard to miss.

Reed, 22, is listed at 6‘5“ and delivers the pitch with a long stride.  It was difficult for the hitters he faced to get in front of it, however, Juan Duran hit a line drive back to the mound that Reed gloved easily.

The left-hander from Memphis was the third pitcher along with John Lamb and Finnegan to come to the Reds in the trade for Johnny Cueto with San Francisco.  Reed is competing for a spot in the starting rotation in his fourth season of professional baseball after the Royal took him in the second round of the 2013 draft.

“Looking at the reports from last year he’s 90- 97 guy,” Price said.  “We saw him higher than that in the Carolina League All-Star Game.  As a starter, he settles in the 92-95 range comfortably.  He has a real good slider, improving change. He’s tenacious.  I talked to some of the guys he played with last year.  They loved playing behind him.  He’s that invested in winning.  It was hard for the Royals to give him up.”

Plentiful Young Pitching Talent

The camp is full of young, hard throwing, talented pitchers.

Price named Reed, Nick Travieso, Sal Romano and Amir Garrett to his list of impressive pitchers.

“Watching these guys rock and fire, there are a lot of big arms, young, strong,” Price said.  ‘They are hard throwing and have a good feel for a breaking ball.  They are really close to being able to help us.”

First year, Reds’ pitching coach Mark Riggins agrees but is eager to see how they perform in games.

“I’m excited about the young arms. There is a lot of young talent,” said Riggins, who spent four years as the Reds’ minor league pitching coordinator.  Riggins was a Major League pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995 and the Cubs in 2011.  “I can tell a lot more when they get into games.  I’ve seen a lot of great bullpens followed by bad games.”

Recovering Players Look Ready

Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart are recovering nicely from injuries.  They are performing in drills with no perceptible lingering effect of the injuries that cut their 2015 season short.

“Everything is going to plan. My timing isn’t there yet but when I get a couple at bats in games, it will come,” said Mesoraco, who had surgery in June to correct a left hip impingement.

Cozart tore his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligament in his right knee while trying to beat out an infield hit on June 10 against Philadelphia.  He had reconstructive surgery on June 16.

Cozart has participated in drills and batting practice with no limitations.

“Work is going great,” Cozart said. “I’m doing as much as I can and feeling great. I’m full go, just taking it slow. I’m not going to be standing on the outside waiting for things to be done. While I’m loose, I’m getting my work in and go from there. When it comes to my workload, I’m doing everything.”

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