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Cingrani will start on mound Thursday for Reds

As expected, the Reds will promote left-hander Tony Cingrani from Triple-A Louisville to start against the Marlins in the first game of a three-game series at 7:10 p.m. Thursday.

Cingrani will take the spot of injured ace Johnny Cueto, who will miss from two to four starts because of a strained lat muscle in his back.

Cingrani has made three starts and pitched 14 1/3 scoreless innings with just three hits and two walks in Louisville. Reds manager Dusty Baker isn’t especially excited to see Cingrani take the mound, only because he would rather have Cueto out there.

“We’re here to win ballgames, not to see who the next rising star is, even though it’s exciting,” said Baker on Wednesday. “We just want him to fit in. I’m hoping he can come in with some quality and we don’t miss a beat with Johnny out. That’s what the depth of the organization is about.”

Cingrani’s start will end a stretch of 180 straight games the Reds have started a right-handed pitcher. That’s the second-longest streak in franchise history.

The Reds haven’t started a lefty since Dontrelle Willis took the mound on Sept. 29, 2011.

The 23-year-old Cingrani, a third-round pick in 2011 from New Lenox, Ill., made his big league debut last September when rosters were expanded. He made three appearances and had a 1.80 ERA in five innings.

Baker said that experience will help Cingrani “quite a big because you know you can pitch here. He had hopes of making the team out of spring training, which is how you want a young man to be. That’s the same way (Mike Leake) was.”

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