Who will start for the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night?

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Graham Ashcraft. / Cole Burston/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds are facing a bit of a conundrum. David Bell has yet to name a starter for Friday's game against the San Francisco Giants, and the Reds skipper doesn't have a lot of options.

The only scheduled starter for the upcoming series with San Francisco is Tyler Mahle, and the right-hander isn't heading to the hill until Sunday's series finale. Luis Castillo will get the ball on Tuesday in Boston and Hunter Greene will battle the Red Sox lineup on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

The Reds starting rotation has been riddled by injuries. Mike Minor may return to the rotation next week after being out on a rehab assignment for the past few weeks. Nick Lodolo is on the 10-day IL with a back injury, and surprise rookie starter Connor Overton just landed on the 60-day IL with a back injury of his own.

Vladimir Gutierrez pitched on Monday, so it wouldn't be shocking to see Cincinnati trot the Cuban back out to the mound on Saturday. But that still leaves a gaping hole in the Reds starting rotation. Who is going to start on Friday night?

Who will start for the Reds on Friday night?

Ben Lively has been one of the better starting pitchers at Triple-A Louisville for the Bats this season, but the veteran already threw earlier this week. Randy Wynne has been one of Louisville's more reliable starters this season, but the right-hander pitched on Wednesday and also gave up five runs on nine hits in just three innings of work.

Honestly, it comes down to three options for David Bell. First, the Cincinnati Reds could choose to put a reliever on the hill to begin the game. Jeff Hoffman has experience starting, but the former first-round pick appeared out of the bullpen for the Redlegs yesterday. Luis Cessa would be another option as he started a game for the Reds earlier this year.

While that route is certainly plausible, I doubt that's the direction Cincinnati will take on Friday night. The Reds have two potential starters sitting down at Triple-A in Reiver Sanmartin and Graham Ashcraft. Both pitched last Sunday; Ashcraft made his major league debut in Toronto and Sanmartin gave up seven earned runs to the Nashville Sounds.

Will Graham Ashcraft or Reiver Sanmartin get the start on Friday night?

The easiest answer might not be so easy. One would think after the horrific performances we've seen from Sanmartin and the success we've seen from Ashcraft at both Triple-A and last Sunday in Toronto, Ashcraft would be the choice.

Unfortunately, Ashcraft is not on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster. If the team wishes to send Ashcraft to the hill on Friday evening, a corresponding move must be made. With the recent news surrounding Justin Wilson's injury, perhaps the Reds move Wilson to the 60-day IL, option a pitcher like Jared Solomon or Joel Kuhnel back to Triple-A.

Graham Ashcraft should get the call on Friday night, but that's not always the way it goes. It'll likely be a toss up between Ashcraft and Reiver Sanmartin. Let's hope the Cincinnati Reds make the correct choice.

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