Cincinnati Reds news: Sonny Gray to miss start, Tanner Roark up first

Sonny Gray will miss his first start of the spring with shoulder stiffness. Tanner Roark will start instead. Check out more Cincinnati Reds news and notes.

The Cincinnati Reds kick off their first game of spring ball today when they play the Cleveland Indians at 3:00 ET. Reds Country has been eagerly awaiting their beloved Redlegs to get onto the field and showcase their talents after adding a lot of pieces to this year’s team. Let’s check out some news and notes on this Saturday morning.

Sonny Gray to miss his first start. I know, it’s not starting out well for Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray. But, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. The Reds decided to scratch Gray from his scheduled start on Saturday after experiencing stiffness in his right shoulder.

Gray experienced the stiffness after bullpen session during Monday’s practice, but he’s being held out for precautionary measures and the injury is not considered serious at all. To give you an idea of the severity, ESPN is reporting that the team is not even sending Gray for an MRI, showing the concern surrounding the stiffness is minimal at best.

Gray was a big part of the Cincinnati Reds offseason makeover. Gray, who played for the New York Yankees last season, was traded from the Bronx earlier this offseason in exchange for prospect Shed Long and a competitive balance pick in this year’s MLB Draft. Gray also signed a 3-year/ $30.5M extension with the Reds.

Tanner Roark draws the start against the Indians. So, with Sonny Gray down, Tanner Roark is being bumped up. Roark, who was also acquired this offseason via trade as well, will start Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.

Roark was acquired in a trade with the Washington Nationals on the final day of the Winter Meetings in December. Roark, not thought to be as high in the rotation as Gray and Alex Wood, could surprise a lot of people this season. His 4.34 ERA last season would’ve trailed only Luis Castillo as the best among Reds starters.

Tucker Barnhart leads off. It’s the first spring game folks, so chill out, but Tucker Barnhart will start behind the plate and be in the leadoff spot. This, in no way, should be interpreted as David Bell‘s choice for the No. 1 hitter in the Reds lineup.

Barnhart will be followed by Joey Votto, Matt Kemp, Eugenio Suárez, Yasiel Puig, Phillip Ervin, Jose Siri, Blake Trahan, and Christian Colon. Ervin will be the team’s designated hitter, Trahan will start at shortstop, and non-roster invitee Colon will start at second base.

Expect to see a lot of early substitutions, both in the field and on the mound. The Cincinnati Reds have a good idea of the way the majority of the roster is going to play out. A few spots may still be up for grabs. Seeing how Nick Senzel responds to a new position and who grabs that last spot in the bullpen are among the most intriguing things to watch during Spring Training.