3 reasons to get excited for the start of Reds spring training games

Today is momentous, and not just because it represents the start of the weekend.

The Reds take the field against the Giants in Scottsdale, Ariz., to officially begin Cactus League play for 2017.

Here are three reasons to get excited about the return of baseball games, exhibitions though they may be:

1. RHP Rookie Davis, LHP Wandy Peralta, RHP Alejandro Chacin, RHP Kevin Shackelford, RHP Sal Romano, RHP Barrett Astin and LHP Lucas Luetge are scheduled to pitch for the Reds against San Francisco.

Davis, who was acquired in the Aroldis Chapman trade, was 10-5 with a 3.82 ERA in Pensacola and Louisville last season.

Peralta (not to be confused with Wandy Rodriguez) is trying to make the club as another lefty reliever.

Romano, who shares a name with a fictional character from the TV series “Mad Men”, went 15-22 for the Dayton Dragons in 2013-14.

Astin and Shackleford were acquired for Jonathan Broxton in late 2014.

2. By the end of the weekend, three of the main competitors for the two open slots in the rotation will have made their spring debuts.

Lefty Amir Garrett is scheduled to pitch against the Indians on Saturday while Tim Adleman and Robert Stephenson are on the slate for Sunday against the Giants.

3. Jose Peraza is set to lead off game one against the Giants.

The likely starting second baseman could ultimately bat second behind Billy Hamilton and give the club not one but two speedsters able to get on base in front of Joey Votto.

Also in manager Bryan Price’s first lineup of the year are outfielder Jesse Winker, who is the designated hitter, and Arismendy Alcantara, who is in center field.

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Winker is a 23-year-old taken in the first round of the draft five years ago who may push Scott Schebler for playing time in right field.

Alcantara is a 25-year-old utility player picked up off waivers from the Cubs last October. He could be an interesting piece to the puzzle as Price puts his bench together.

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