Are the Reds sending a message to pitchers?

CINCINNATI — It appears a message is being sent throughout the Cincinnati Reds system to pitchers — especially guys like Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson. And that message is, “Throw strikes, display some command of the strike zone.”

And if they don’t they’ll languish in the minor league sytem while the Reds search here, there and everywhere for help.

An example surfaced again Tuesday when the Reds made a roster move to add a pitcher. Instead of recalling Reed or Stephenson, they Reds called upon a non-roster pitcher, meaning they had to drop somebody off the roster to add Kevin Shackelford.

Why Shakelford?

“HE HAS PERFORMED and he has performed really well — at a high level,” said Reds manager Bryan Price. “He has handled the closing job, he has been a multiple-inning guy, throwing 3 2/3 innings and nearly 60 pitches. He checks off as being able to pitch some length for us.

“He has been in high-leverage pressure situations in the eighth and ninth innings,” Price added. “He is throwing good quality strikes and he has added a cut fastball. He has a sinker-slider combination that has been very good.

“He is a non-roster player that pitched himself onto our roster and on our team, not out of need, but out of performance. It is nice to recognize performers rather than guys we deem prospects.”

And that last quote says it all about performance over alleged prospects.

TO MAKE ROOM ON THE 40-man roster, pitcher Jake Buchanan was designiated for assignment and to make room on the 25-man roster pitcher Austin Brice was optioned back to Class AAA Louisville.

Shackelford, a 27-year-old right hander, was a 21st-round draft pick by Milwaukee in 2010. The Reds acquired him in August, 2014 from the Brewers in the Jonathan Broxton trade.

When Shackelford appears, he will be the 10th pitcher this season to make his major league debut with the Reds and the 24th pitcher used by the club this year.

IT LOOKS AS IF Brandon Finnegan has to return to ‘Go’ on the monopoly board and start over.

After missing two months with a shoulder injury, he returned to the mound Monday in St. Louis and lasted three innings before walking off the mound.

The injury is in the same muscle but in a different area and figures to shut him down for another lengthy period.

“It is going to be a while before we see Finney on the mound again,” said Price. “The disabled list is inevitable. It is the same injury, but a different part — sam muscle, different spot.

“It doesn’t look great with more triceps soreness,” Price added. “He did all the rehab from the previous injury and the MRI showed that it had healed. But this could be something similar.”

AN EXTREMELY GLUM and soft-spoken Finnegan stood in front of his locker Tuesday talking about his frustrations.

Asked if his latest injury might come from overcompensating, he said, “No, because the MRI last week showed everything a go, all 100 per cent. I was ready to pitch and everything was good.

“This is definitely heart-breaking, for sure,” he said. “I was so excited to be back, to be with the guys and try to help them win some games. It backfired, for sure. I’ll just come in and start rehab and go from there.

“This is definitely very hard for me, especially after seeing the MRI last week and everything was 100 per cent. Then I go out there and get hurt in the fourth inning. My mind is racing right now and I don’t know what to think or how to go about it,” he added.

SHORTSTOP ZACK COZART is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday and is going through baseball routines to see if he is ready.

“Zack is progressing and had a good workout Monday in St. Louis,” said Price. “We’re between a rock and a hard place with him. As we’re finding out, there is just no guarantee that people can come back and help you the rest of the season.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to insure when we bring guys back that they are ready to go,” Price added. “We’d certainly like him to be in the highest percentile of not likely to be re-injured.”

The medical staff will put Cozart through his paces Tuesday and Wednesday before activation and Price said, “We are trying to get him back to full speed and that’s the rock and the hard place. If you bring him back and he re-injures it or has another setback there is always the thinking that this is what you should have done or this is what you shouldn’t have done.”

BRONSON ARROYO WAS placed on the 60-day disabled list this week, a prodecural matter, because he says he won’t pitch again. But the Reds, instead of taking away his uniform and showing him the door, showed extreme class by permitting him to stay with the team.

“That was never really a question for us,” said Price. “If he couldn’t rehab and get back, would he want to stay with the ballclub?

“I don’t think he wants to just come out here and throw on a Reds t-shirt and be a cheerleader,” said Price. “He wants to have respoonsibilities and he always will. We would never, for a second, consider asking him to leave. We want him to be a part of this. He serves as a great mentor to a lot of these young pitchers. He is a great teammates and somebody who can teach our guys professionalism and preparation and how you deal with people and treat people and how you show appreciation for the game.”

THIS SHOULD COME as no surprise to anybody who has not spent the last two months in Pago Pago, but here goes.

Since May 7, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Scott Feldman is 5-and-2. The rest of the Reds starters are 3-and-18.

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