Cincinnati Reds: Key piece in rotation to start season on DL

Left-hander Alex Wood to start season on shelf; Tyler Mahle likely to replace him in rotation

One of the newest members of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation won’t be there on Opening Day.

Left-hander Alex Wood, acquired from the Dodgers in a December trade, will be placed on the 15-day disabled list to start the season.

Wood made his only spring start on Feb. 25 against Seattle. The Reds scratched him from his second start with back pain. Wood was working on pitches with light throwing but had a setback. He threw on Monday but will not be able to ramp up in time for the start of the season.

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“There is no timetable for his return,” Reds manager David Bell said. “If everything is perfect he could be ready by mid-April”

Bell and his staff are discussing whether Wood will remain in Goodyear for extended spring training or return with the team to Cincinnati.

The leading candidate to take Wood’s place in the starting rotation is Tyler Mahle, who got the start against the Colorado Rockies on Monday.

It was Mahle’s fourth start of the spring. He has not allowed a run in six innings, pitching three scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last outing on March 12.

Brandon Finnegan was sent to minor league camp along with Buddy Boshers.

Finnegan was among the five pitchers the Reds identified to be stretched out for a swing role of long or short relief.

Finnegan, who struggled the last three years with injuries and ineffectiveness, was having a difficult spring. In his last outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the left-hander gave up a grand slam. He created the jam himself by walking two batters. It was his third spring appearance in which he failed to manage a full inning. He gave up 15 runs, 11 earned in five innings, over six outings.

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He has an option left and the Reds used it with less than a week to go before they leave Goodyear.

“There are points in your career that you can identify as a turning point,” Bell said. “This is one for Finney. He’s right there. It’s a matter of him getting himself to the point where he knows he can be. He’s super close. We were counting on him to make the team. It’s disappointing for him but we’re doing what’s best for him.”

Finnegan struggled as both a starter and reliever last year. He started the season on the disabled list and was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in five starts. The Reds sent him to Louisville in May when they acquired Matt Harvey. Finnegan struggled there, too. He was moved to the bullpen and finished with a 2-10 record with a 7.05 ERA for the Bats.

Boshers, also a lefty, signed a minor league contract with the Reds in January with an invitation to big league camp. He made 48 appearances in the Houston and Pittsburgh organizations last season. He last pitched in the Major Leagues with Minnesota in 2017 with a 4.89 ERA in 38 appearances in relief.

Those moves leaves nine pitchers competing for the two remaining spots in the bullpen.

Zach Duke, David Hernandez, Jared Hughes, Amir Garrett, Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen are likely to be in the bullpen to start the season.

Anthony Bass, Matt Bowman, Ian Krol, Wandy Peralta, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Sal Romano, Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler are all still in competition.

Bowman and Stephenson are behind the others due to early camp soreness. Stephenson and Wisler are out of options. They have to make the team or go through waivers.


White Sox vs. Reds, 9:05 p.m., FS Ohio, 700

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