Raisel Iglesias sat down in the Reds dugout for an interview Tuesday two days after arriving in the United States. This isn’t his first trip to the country, but this was his first visit to Cincinnati and his first chance to see his future team play.
The Reds signed the Cuban pitcher in June to a seven-year deal reportedly worth $27 million. They introduced him to the media before the start of a two-game series against the Red Sox at Great American Ball Park.
“I feel very happy that I’m already reaching my dream,” Iglesias said through an interpreter. “I’m happy I’m here. I can’t wait to put on the Cincinnati jersey and give 110 percent.”
The Reds said Iglesias, 24, will join the organization when his visa issues are resolved.
“He’s a tremendous athlete, a converted shortstop,” General Manager Walt Jocketty said. “He throws 94-96 with two quality breaking pitches, a curveball and power slider, and has the makings of a quality changeup. He has four quality pitches, and our scouts feel he can be a starter and be a starter very soon. What we’ve tried to develop here is pitching and defense. The more pitching we can acquire, the deeper we can get, the more flexibility it gives us going forward.”
The same group of scouts who helped the Reds get another Cuban pitcher, Aroldis Chapman, scouted Iglesias, Jocketty said. The process didn’t faze Iglesias. He was confident he would get a chance in the big leagues and is happy to get the opportunity with a franchise that has two other Cubans on the big-league roster: Chapman and catcher Brayan Pena.
“They’ve been giving me good advice,” Iglesias said. “It does help having people from my home island here. That makes me more comfortable to be in Cincinnati.”
Iglesias was 8-12 with a 3.47 ERA in five starts and 83 relief appearances with Isla de la Juventud in Cuba’s National Series. The Reds plan to use him as a starter.
“I took the responsibility of starting a couple of games, and then I went to the national team, and they needed a reliever,” Iglesias said. “If Cincinnati wants me to start, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Today’s game: Mike Leake (9-10, 3.42 ERA) will start the second and final game of the series against the Red Sox at 12:35 p.m. today. Homer Bailey was originally scheduled to start. His start was pushed back because he’s experiencing elbow stiffness. Price is optimistic he’ll be able to start Saturday.
After giving up four earned runs in each of his first two starts after the All-Star break, Leake has allowed three earned runs in his last three starts (20 2/3 innings).
Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 3.00) starts for Boston. This will be his second career start. He allowed two earned runs in six innings against the Yankees on Aug. 1.