With Cactus League play beginning Tuesday against the Indians, here are five things to know about the Reds so far in spring training:
1. Opening Day starter
Manager Bryan Price has not named one but did release the order in which projected starters will work in spring games.
Jon Moscot and Brandon Finnegan pitch Tuesday. Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed pitch Wednesday, also against Cleveland. Anthony DeSclafani — who tied for the National League lead in starts last season — and Jonathan Sanchez face the Indians in the third game. Michael Lorenzen and Tim Melville work against the Giants on Friday. Finnegan starts against the Cubs on Saturday. Moscot goes in the sixth game Sunday against Colorado.
“We didn’t want Finnegan to wait until the fifth day to get his first start,” Price said. “When they only go one or two innings, you can bring them back on three days rest.”
Based on this lineup, DeSclafani would open the season.
2. Raisel Iglesias behind
The Reds shut down Raisel Iglesias on Sept. 13 with shoulder fatigue, and the right-hander has started his throwing program later than other pitchers. Price expects Iglesias to be stretched out in time for his first start of the season, should he earn a spot in the rotation.
“He’s throwing great,” Price said. “He’s closer to the middle of the month (for pitching in games) than the end. We will have adequate time to get him fully stretched out by the time he will make his first start.”
Iglesias is likely to be at the end of the rotation to allow for a couple of extra days.
3. Cody Reed impresses
During live batting practice last week, when pitchers throw as they would in a game to hitters with no defense and a batting cage, Cody Reed was hard to miss.
Reed, 22, is listed at 6-foot-5 and delivers to the plate with a long stride. Hitters had trouble making solid contact. Juan Duran hit a line drive back to the mound that Reed gloved easily, but that was about it.
The left-hander from Memphis came to the Reds from Kansas City in the trade for Johnny Cueto along with pitchers John Lamb and Finnegan. Reed is competing for a spot in the rotation in his fourth season of professional baseball after the Royals took him in the second round of the 2013 draft.
“He’s tenacious, Price said. “I talked to some of the guys he played with last year. They loved playing behind him. He’s that invested in winning. It was hard for the Royals to give him up.”
4. Young arms abound
The camp is full of young, hard-throwing, talented pitchers.
Price raved bout Reed, Nick Travieso, Sal Romano and Amir Garrett.
“Watching these guys rock and fire, there are a lot of big arms, young, strong,” Price said. ‘They are hard-throwing and have a good feel for a breaking ball. They are really close to being able to help us.”
First-year pitching coach Mark Riggins agrees but is eager to see them in games.
“I’m excited about the young arms,” said Riggins, who spent four years as the Reds’ minor league pitching coordinator and was a major-league pitching coach for the Cardinals in 1995 and the Cubs in 2011. “I can tell a lot more when they get into games. I’ve seen a lot of great bullpens followed by bad games.”
5. Recovering players ready
Catcher Devin Mesoraco and shortstop Zack Cozart are performing in drills with no perceptible lingering effects from injuries that cut short their 2015 seasons.
“My timing isn’t there yet but when I get a couple at-bats in games, it will come,” said Mesoraco, who had surgery in June to correct a left hip impingement.
Cozart tore ligaments in his right knee while trying to beat out an infield hit June 10 against Philadelphia. He had reconstructive surgery six days later but has participated in drills and batting practice with no limitations.
“I’m doing as much as I can and feeling great,” he said. “I’m full go, just taking it slow. When it comes to my workload, I’m doing everything.”