Finnegan happy for chance to make Reds roster

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Brandon Finnegan interview (March 12, 2021)

Former starting trying to make team as reliever but has struggled in his last two appearances

Brandon Finnegan was shocked when he received a promotion to the Cincinnati Reds’ big-league camp a week ago. Getting called into the manager’s office at this point in spring training isn’t usually a good sign, he said.

“I was so happy,” Finnegan said. “I’ve been through a lot in the last few years and it’s sucks. But I’ve just kept trying to work and work and get back to where I know I belong and that’s on a big-league field, pitching for a big-league team. I want to help this team win any way I possibly can. Hopefully, something comes of it, but I’m very very thankful for them to give me this opportunity.”

Finnegan, 27, last pitched for the Reds in 2018. He was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in five starts. Two years earlier, he was 10-11 with a 3.98 ERA in 31 starts. That was Finnegan’s first full season with the Reds, who acquired him at the trade deadline in 2015 in the deal that sent Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals.

Finnegan battled injuries in 2017 and made only four appearances with the Reds. He spent most of the 2018 season with Triple-A Louisville and then made 13 appearances with Double-A Chattanooga in 2019 after being demoted to the minor-league camp in spring training. He was happy with the way he threw the ball last year in spring training.

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“The way I was throwing, I felt like I was close to being back to myself if not right there,” Finnegan said, “and then of course everybody got slapped in the face with the pandemic. I just went home and continued to work.”

Although he didn’t get a chance to pitch in the 60-game season, Finnegan trained with the Reds at the alternate site at Prasco Park in Mason.

“I wanted to prove that I’d been working my butt off and I know I belong,” Finnegan said. “I threw the ball really well.”

It’s been a long road back to getting this chance in spring training. Finnegan said he feels like himself again on the mound. He has made five Cactus League appearances this month. He has 4.26 ERA in 6 1/3 innings. He has struggled in his last two outings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with three walks in 1 1/3 innings, after starting the season with three scoreless appearances.

“I’ve just got to keep my blinders on and keep going,” Finnegan said.

NOTES: The Reds lost 12-9 to the Texas Rangers on Thursday. They remain in last place in the Cactus League with a 5-12 record.

Jeff Hoffman started and allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. Jonathan India went 2-for-4 with his second home run and raised his average to .370. Tyler Naquin hit his second home run of the spring.

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