Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Tony Cingrani throws a pitch during a rehab assignment with the Dragons on Monday at Fifth Third Field. Cingrani threw 24 pitches in the first inning and didn’t allow a hit. Contributed Photo/ Bryant Billing

Reds reliever Cingrani “feels strong” in rehab stint with Dragons

Reds relief pitcher Tony Cingrani felt slight discomfort in his right oblique during his last few pitches in a game against Baltimore on April 18 but didn’t think i t was anything serious. The pain didn’t go away, though, and he’s been on the disabled list for the last six weeks.

Cingrani took a step toward returning to the Reds on Monday in a rehab assignment with the Dragons. He pitched the first inning of Dayton’s 4-2 win against West Michigan and over the course of 24 pitches recorded three groundouts with one walk.

Most importantly, Cingrani said he feels normal.

“Everything’s good, everything feels strong,” Cingrani said. “I’ve just got to get back into it, moving my arm that fast again. I’ve been off a few weeks.”

Cingrani went on the disabled list two days after his last game when his pain didn’t go away. He was the first of several bullpen pitchers to go on the disabled list. Brandon Finnegan was put on the 60-day disabled list earlier this month to join Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani , who have been on the DL all season.

Left-hander Amir Garrett was placed on the disabled list late last week with right hip inflammation, which leaves Wandy Peralta as the Reds only lefty in the bullpen.

Cingrani, a left-hander, complimented the bullpen’s play in his absence.

“They’re doing really well,” Cingrani said. “It’s a good group of guys. Pitching’s doing great, and we’re having some guys really step up. It’s been fun to watch. I know they’ve thrown a lot of innings and are kind of beat up, so it will be fun to get back out there.”

Cingrani forced the Whitecaps first two batters to hit into groundouts but then walked Jacob Robson on a series of low throw s and had a wild pitch get away from Dayton catcher Cassidy Brown. Manager Luis Bolivar visited the mound, and Cingrani was able to force another groundout shortly after.

“It’s a little weird to get back out there after five weeks of doing nothing,” Cingrani said. “Getting in tune with the catcher (Brown) was difficult because he was looking away when I was trying to tell him what pitch I was going to throw. That got in my head a little.”

Cingrani said he expects to make another rehab start before returning to Cincinnati, but he said the organization doesn’t have a definitive timetable for his return.

“It’s day-by-day,” Cingrani said.

Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said the players enjoyed the visit.

Though Cingrani has been in the Reds organization since getting drafted in 2011, Monday was his first game at Fifth Third Fie ld. He moved from low-A Billings in 2011 to AA Pensacola in 2012, bypassing the Dragons.

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