3 Reds players in danger of losing their 40-man roster spot to Matt McLain

Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McLain
Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt McLain / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Matt McLain is slated to make his major league debut later today when the Cincinnati Reds battle the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

Reds fans have been very patient with the team's front office after watching McLain absolutely torch opposing pitchers down at Triple-A. McLain was hitting .364/.464/.713 with 12 homers in just 37 games this season.

But, McLain is not on the Reds 40-man roster, which means a corresponding move must be made. Which three players are in danger of losing their spot on the Reds 40-man roster?

1. Reds pitcher Joel Kuhnel could lose his 40-man roster spot to Matt McLain.

Wait, a pitcher? I thought Matt McLain played shortstop. He does, and don't worry; he's not switching positions. Joel Kuhnel, who was part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, has not performed well in the minor leagues this season.

Kuhnel pitched in just one game for the Redlegs earlier this season and was optioned to Triple-A Louisville in early-April. Kuhnel has made 13 relief appearances for the Louisville Bats this season and is 0-9 with a 9.00 ERA and only nine punch outs in 14 innings of work. The right-hander has also walked seven batters.

The Reds could designate Kuhnel for assignment, option one of their struggling shortstops to the minors, and select the contract of Matt McLain. Both Jose Barrero and Kevin Newman have looked pretty bad, both on the field and in the batters' box.

Perhaps it's time to send Barrero down to Triple-A and attempt to salvage his career by moving him to the outfield. Cincinnati has experimented with that in the past, and Barrero has received a handful of innings in center field this season as well.

Given the current state of the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff, there's little reason to believe that the front office will weaken the starting rotation or the bullpen by removing an active pitcher from the roster in order to call up McLain on Monday. But Joel Kuhnel is not on the active roster.