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Rotation’s youth movement is here

When Jon Moscot debuted for the Reds in Friday’s loss to the Padres, he became the fourth rookie pitcher to start this season for the club. Moscot joined Michael Lorenzen, Anthony DeSclafani and the currently-on-the-DL Raisel Iglesias.

These pitchers will have to learn on the job while trying to give the Reds a chance to win games.

“We have tabbed these four guys that are with us now, even though Iglesias is on the disabled list, really as the future of our starting rotation (and) perhaps our bullpen,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Saturday. “I think that sometimes you have to settle into the big league level before your role is defined but heading into this season we felt like all four of those that are up with us now, DeSclafani, Lorenzen, Iglesias and Moscot were destined to be part of our starting rotation. It’s come a little bit sooner then we anticipated but we embrace it and it’s a great opportunity to learn and get better. We’re not really going go baby steps, we’re going to ask these guys to go out there and do what we expect and that’s to keep themselves in games, compete, learn and pitch innings. So we’re all excited about it.

“It’s an interesting mix because we have more of a veteran group of position players and a much younger starting rotation then we anticipated. But having [Johnny] Cueto, [Mike] Leake and Homer Bailey here certainly provides some leadership for the young guys as well.”

Price was asked if the idea of a youth movement suggested the team was already looking ahead to next year instead of playing for 2015. He did not believe that to be the case.

“Well, we’re playing with what we have,” Price replied. “We knew that the limitations we had were that we had to make some roster adjustments for some payroll flexibility which led to some of the off-season moves. And it also created some opportunities for these young guys when needed to come in and pitch, but we knew this was our fall back. We are seeing our fall back position right now, and that’s seeing our young pitchers up here sooner then we anticipated. So we can look at it any way we choose to. I choose to look at it as a positive, as that these guys have a great veteran team behind them. We have one of the best defensive teams in the National League, if not in baseball, behind this group of young starting pitchers. We have to see that as a positive, not just for next year but for this year.”

Game 54: Padres at Reds


Game 52: Reds at Phillies

Phillips 4

Votto 3

Frazier 5

Bruce 9

Pena 2

Cozart 6

Schumaker 7

DeSclafani 1

Hamilton 8

No day-after issues for Cueto

It appears that Reds ace Johnny Cueto came through Tuesday’s six-inning, 93-pitch start against Philadelphia without any health setbacks. Cueto, of course, was pitching after he missed time with right elbow stiffness. Besides having no problems on the mound vs. the Phillies, an important was no issues the day after on Wednesday.

“He looks good. He came in, he was bubbly,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He hadn’t played catch yet but there were no signs of any issues. He wasn’t complaining of any type of soreness. I’m sure he’ll have his regular post pitching soreness. What we’re hoping is that there is not what he felt after the start in Kansas City, which was considerably more. i think that was something he was able to notice the next day without throwing.”

Cueto’s next start is scheduled for Sunday vs. the Padres.

Game 51: Reds at Phillies

Phillips 4

Votto 3

Frazier 5

Bruce 9

Cozart 6

Negron 7

Barnhart 2

Leake 1

Hamilton 8

De Jesus Jr. called up

UPDATE: Byrd went on the 15-day DL. Donald Lutz was released to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for De Jesus.

The Reds selected the contract of infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday, with outfielder Marlon Byrd expected to be placed on the disabled list after he fractured his right wrist.

De Jesus was batting .303/.378/.384 in 50 games with no home runs and 16 RBIs this season for Louisville. He has played at all four infield spots, including 31 games at third base.

Corresponding 25-and-40-man roster moves will be officially announced later in the day

De Jesus, 28, signed a Minor League deal with the Reds in November after he spent last season in Triple-A with the Orioles and Red Sox. The son of former Major Leaguer Ivan DeJesus, he has 48 games played in the Majors in parts of three seasons with the Dodgers and Red Sox and a .205 average.

For Byrd, this could prove to be a costly injury depending on how long he is out. The 37-year-old is earning $8 million this season but had an $8 million option for 2016 that automatically vested if he had 550 plate appearances this season. If he doesn’t reach that benchmark, it converts to a club option.

In 47 games and 185 plate appearances, Byrd is batting .212/.286/.442 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs. He was acquired from the Phillies on Dec. 31 for pitching prospect Ben Lively.

Game 50: Reds at Phillies

Phillips 4

Votto 3

Frazier 5

Bruce 9

Pena 2

Byrd 7

Cozart 6

Cueto 1

Hamilton 8

Cueto’s agent on ace’s trade readiness 

Reds starter Johnny Cueto’s agent, Bryce Dixon, was on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Sunday and discussed the possibility of the ace being traded this summer. Cueto can be a free agent at season’s end. 

Here is a portion of Dixon’s comments:

“I’ve told him to just be ready in case he does get traded. This is his arbitration extension that we signed so he didn’t get a no-trade clause in this deal so to the extent of what type of power do we have as far as where he goes? That’s up to the Reds. They’ve made no indications to Johnny that they want to trade him but, reading the tea leaves, if they fall out of contention it seems to make sense from their end because if they ride the season out with him and don’t make the playoffs then they are stuck with a compensation pick. And from where I sit I think they can probably get more than that on the trade market.”

Here is some of the audio:

Cueto showing leadership

On, there will be a story posting soon that Johnny Cueto had a successful bullpen session Sunday morning. That clears the way for him to likely start on Tuesday at Philadelphia. Go to the web site for all the details.

Of course, the Reds are thrilled that Cueto missed only one start for right elbow stiffness, and that it wasn’t worse. Not only is his presence needed on the mound, but the three rookies in the rotation have had a good leader to follow in the ace.

“It has been, more and more so since Bronson Arroyo] left,” manager Bryan Price said of Cueto’s effort at leadership. “I think he’s kind of accepted that role. We have some really good, really good established starting pitchers that can share really good information with this young group. That includes Johnny and Homer [Bailey] and [Mike] Leake are guys that really have been here with us, they know our system, they know our expectations from a pitching standpoint and can be really good council to our younger pitchers.

Cueto, Bailey and Leake are following a leadership path blazed in recent years by both Arroyo and Aaron Harang. Both were the staff veterans that helped show younger pitchers the way to be prepared and pitch.

“I think that it’s a combination of things,” Price said. “No. 1, it’s having really good leadership from Bronson, No. 2 I think we’ve cultivated an expectation of really pitching well. We haven’t been great the last couple of years, (but) we still have the expectations of what hard work looks like. Especially out of the rotation, making sure that you’re pitching your innings and doing all of the stuff that you need to between starts to be ready to pitch those innings.”

Not said, of course, is that this could very well be the last year for both Cueto and Leake in Reds uniforms as they can be free agents at season’s end. Especially with Cueto, the young guys should soak up all they can. Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias have both made it a point to sit near him on the bench during games and Lorenzen has told me in the past that he talks to Cueto often about pitching.

Game 49: Nationals at Reds



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