Cincinnati Reds mix up bullpen, announce Tuesday’s starter

By Matt Wilkes
Oct 4, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Josh Smith (64) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Josh Smith (64) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Some new faces are joining the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, while another will step into the starting rotation.

The 2016 season has been a rough one for the Reds, particularly the pitching staff. The starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, while the bullpen has been historically bad.

Tim Adleman was the latest starter to go down with a strained left oblique. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list and it has been reported by KAIT’s Jason Hurst that Daniel Wright will step into the rotation and start Tuesday.

Wright, a 25-year-old right-hander, was taken by the Reds in the 10th round of the 2013 draft out of Arkansas State University. He’s had a breakout season thus far between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville, with a minuscule 0.79 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in 34 innings and 10 appearances (four starts).

One of the main things to note about Wright is that he rarely walks anyone, issuing just 1.9 free passes per nine innings in his career. This season, he has walked only five batters. He also strikes out a healthy amount, too, with 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings for his career (8.5 K/9 this season).

Additionally, the club made a litany of moves in the bullpen. Jumbo Diaz and Keyvius Sampson were sent back to Triple-A, while Steve Delabar was designated for assignment. Replacing them are another trio of righties: Dayan Diaz, A.J. Morris and Josh Smith.

There’s a common theme among the players promoted: they’re all throwing strikes. The Reds’ bullpen currently leads the majors in walks and is on pace to become one of three in baseball history to walk over 300 hitters.

Diaz has put up impressive numbers throughout his minor-league career (2.04 ERA), but this will be his first chance in the majors. He has spent time with the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox before joining the Reds in the offseason. Pitching for Louisville, the 27-year-old has allowed just four runs (three earned) in 14 1/3 innings. He only has seven strikeouts, down from his career rate of 9.1 K/9, but also has just four walks, which puts him well under his career mark of 4.1 BB/9.

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Morris, 29, will also make his big-league debut when he appears in a game. He has pitched in a starting and relief role this year, but will throw out of the bullpen for the Reds. In 30 innings, he has allowed 15 runs — only nine of them earned — and struck out 21. His 1.37 WHIP is a bit on the high end due to allowing 32 hits, but he’s issued only nine walks.

The only familiar face Reds fans will see is Smith, who struggled in his short time with the team in 2015. In 42 Triple-A innings, the 28-year-old has been right around his career averages in nearly every area. He has a 3.86 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, with a 7.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. He’ll likely take over the Reds’ long relief role for now.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Reds transferred Anthony DeSclafani (strained left oblique) and Yorman Rodriguez (strained left hamstring) to the 60-day disabled list. This simply means they aren’t eligible to come off the DL until June 2, so it shouldn’t have any effect on their return. DeSclafani is expected to make his first of three rehab starts on Wednesday and Rodriguez has not officially started rehab, but has been playing in extended spring training in Arizona.

Wright has not officially been added to the 40-man roster, so another transaction will have to occur on Tuesday.

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