Tony Cingrani needs total focus on the mound for the Reds. Off the mound, he’s an adept multi-tasker, just like everyone else in this modern society.
Here’s the proof: the left-hander who makes his second career start Tuesday did an entire interview Monday while rolling a yellow softball under the sole of his feet.
Cingrani isn’t hurt. Rolling objects under your feet, be it with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball or softball, is a form of massage. It’s not uncommon these days to see large groups of players working on their muscles in this way.
Cingrani allowed one run in five innings in his first start Thursday against the Marlins after being called up from Triple-A Louisville. He became the first Reds left-hander to win his first career start since Tom Browning in 1984. He hopes to build on that performance at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series against the Cubs.
“Just getting into the clubhouse that first day and doing things a bit different here, my next start I’ll feel more comfortable going out there with how the game moves,” Cingrani said.
The rest of the staff has set the bar high for Cingrani. In the first seven games of the homestand, the starters were 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA. They averaged seven innings and just under eight strikeouts per start.
Cingrani said he has received valuable advice since his first start from pitching coach Bryan Price and fellow starter Mat Latos.
“We each have our different way of going about things,” Cingrani said. “We try to do the best we can. Obviously them going out and putting up those numbers and doing what they do is awesome. We’ll try to build off that and keep going.”
Cingrani put eight runners on base in his first start with five hits and three walks. He escaped two early jams, and the Reds gave him plenty of run support, eventually winning 11-1. Cingrani made only one big mistake, giving up a home run to Justin Ruggiano.
“They got guys on with no outs, first and second every time pretty much,” Cingrani said. “(Getting out of the jams) gives me some confidence going into the next one.”
Cingrani will remain in the rotation as long as Johnny Cueto is on the disabled list. This will be the second start Cueto has missed since straining a muscle in his back.
“It helps that the guys are doing their thing until Johnny gets back,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said, “but if they weren’t, we couldn’t rush him any quicker. There’s no substitute for time. In this case, we’ve got to get Johnny back because he’s our ace.”
Staff Writer Dave Jablonski will help keep you informed about the Reds’ drive to another NL Central Division title this season.
Cubs at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410