The Cincinnati Reds’ roster is being finalized in pieces, mostly by subtraction, yet one key spot on the bench was filled by addition.
The Reds starting rotation has been set, sort of.
Scott Feldman, who pitched 5 2/3 innings against the Dodgers on Tuesday will start Opening Day. Brandon Finnegan will start game two. Rookie Davis won one of the three open jobs witll make the jump from Double A to the starting rotation for game three. Amir Garrett will start game four. Bronson Arroyo is penciled in for his first start on April 8 in St. Louis but the Reds want him to pitch pain-free and successfully in Arizona on Sunday before they make the move of clearing a roster spot for him to make the start.
“Davis came in and showed the stuff we were excited about when we traded for him,” Bryan Price said. “He showed the aptitude to make the changes we wanted him to make. One of them was to.get quicker to the plate to control the running game. The other thing was to add a slider so he had a pitch to finish a hitter with.. The slider has helped that. He is polished and composed. We felt he could make the jump to the big leagues.”
Garrett won the job with an aggressive, competitive demeanor.
“We asked him too to be quicker to the plate and challenge the hitter with three pitches,” Price said. “He is unbelievably aggressive and poised and never stops coming at you. That made a big difference.”
Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson made the Opening Day roster out of the bullpen but are expected to return to starting at some point during the season. Reed could start a game five if Arroyo is not ready..
“Reed is starting the season in the bullpen because we won’t need him for a starter until down the road,” Price said. “Right now we want Robert (Stephenson) to develop in this particular role with an eye on returning to the starting rotation. He’s done a really nice job in spring training coming in after the starter. With every outing, the fastball, breaking ball and split command improved. He’s done more than probably anybody else in the last two or three weeks to show signs of turning a corner to look like a big leaguer. I feel strongly that he can help us in this role and develop as a pitcher.”
Joining them in the bullpen will be right-handed pitcher Barrett Astin and left-handed pitcher Wandy Peralta. Drew Storen, Tony Cingrani and Michael Lorenzen will form the back end of the bullpen, where there will be no designated closer. Raisel Iglesias how was on the sideline with a contusion but has been throwing well on the side, will also travel with the team to Cincinnati after Wednesday’s game.
Arismendy Alcantara, Patrick Kivlehan, backup catcher Stuart Turner and newly acquired Scooter Gennett will form the Reds’ four-man bench.
Scooter Gennett was claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. He will be a left-handed bat they coveted off the bench. Arismendy Alcatara, a switch hitter will also backup the Reds’ starting eight.
Stuart Turner will start the season as Tucker Barnhart’s backup at catcher. Turner was a Rule V draft pick from the winter meetings. The Reds are required to keep him on the 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Minnesota Twins for half the claim price which is $25,000 although a trade could be made with the Twins that would allow the Reds to option Turner when Devin Mesoraco is ready to catch regularly.
Right this minute the roster is this.
Starting Pitchers (5) Starters Scott Feldman, Brandon Finnegan, Rookie Davis, Amir Garrett, Bronson Arroyo. Bullpen (8) Barrett Astin, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Wandy Peralta, Raisel Iglesias, Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen, Tony Cingrani.
Catchers (2) Tucker Barnhart, Stuart Turner
Infielders (6) Joey Votto, Jose Peraza, Zack Cozart, Eugenio Suarez, Arismendy Alcantara, Scooter Gennett.
Outfielders (4) Scott Schebler, Billy Hamilton, Adam Duvall, Patrick Kivlehan
Today the Reds optioned RHP Tim Adleman and RHP Sal Romano to Triple A Louisville. RHP Louis Coleman and LHP Lucas Luetge, C Rob Brantly, IF/OF Hernan Iribarren, If/OF Tony Renda, OF Desmond Jennings and IF/OF Sebastian Elizalde were reassigned to minor league camp.
“Desmond was on the roster until we got Scooter,” Price said. “It was difficult because he is a true centerfielder. He had an out. He will have to talk to his agent but we think Schebler and Alcantara can handle centerfield.”
Romano and Adleman are not forgotten. They will be in the rotation in Louisville.
“All these guys were very, very professional,” Price said. “Romano knows we anticipate seeing him this year as we do Adleman. As we do with a lot of these kids. We are only as good as our depth. We be utilizing the pitching in particular. Certainly there will be a point in time when we get to a five-man bench. Some things are going to have to settle in first.”
The Reds defeated the Dodgers 9-3. Feldman posted 4 2/3 innings, allowed two runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out four.
The 34-year old, who has started Opening Day games in 2010 with Texas and 2014 with Houston is ready to go on Monday.
“I feel strong and ready to go,” Feldman said. “Opening Day is a special day when I was a little kid, I always looked forward to it. Even as players we look forward to it too.”