Cincinnati Reds turn to two rookie starters

Reds pitcher Rookie Davis is introduced on Opening Day before a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
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Reds pitcher Rookie Davis is introduced on Opening Day before a game against the Phillies on Monday, April 3, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

The Cincinnati Reds created a bit of history by opening the season with seven rookies.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time the Reds have had seven rookies on the roster at the start of the season — at least as far back as its record books go. The 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks were the last team to start the season with seven rookies on a 25-man roster.

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ExploreThe Reds are so young they even have a player named Rookie. That would be Rookie Davis, who will make his big-league debut at 12:35 p.m. Thursday at Great American Ball Park in the third game of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“He’s a lot different pitcher than he was last year,” Reds manager Bryan Price said Wednesday. “He had a couple things he had to battle through. They weren’t arm related, but they were lower-extremity related issues with his leg and groin, and it affected his ability to really drive the ball to the plate.”

The Reds acquired Davis, 23, from the New York Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade on Dec. 28, 2015. He was 10-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 19 starts with Double-A Pensacola last season and 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in four starts with Triple-A Louisville. He spent most of May on the disabled list with a groin strain.

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Now that he’s healthy, Davis’ fastball measures 92-96 miles per hour instead of 88-92, Price said. Davis also added a slider to his repertoire.

“He really made the investment to add a pitch to go with a good curveball and changeup,” Price said. “He’s a guy that’s aggressive. He throws strikes. He commands the zone well. He’s got good fastball command. He’s got better stuff than he began last year with. We anticipate with the maturity and pitch quality and command he’s going to be able to hold his own up here.”

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Amir Garrett, 24, will debut in a 8:15 p.m. Friday game against the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Reds drafted Garrett in the 22nd round in 2011. He split time between Pensacola and Louisville last season. He was 3-1 with a 4.22 ERA in six starts in spring training.

“He’s going to do everything in his power to compete all the way through the duration of his outing,” Price said. “The key for him is harnessing all the of the pitches in the zone, similar to (Brandon) Finnegan and establish he can throw that slider and changeup over the plate. He’s got a very good fastball. The changeup and slider improved greatly. The changeup, his third pitch, we really want to see that one turn the corner.”


THURSDAY’S GAME

Phillies at Reds, 12:35 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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