The Reds acquired De Leon in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2019. He has not started a game at the big-league level since his rookie year with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 but has started in the minors. He had an 18.00 ERA in five relief appearances with the Reds last season and has an 8.64 ERA in 16 2/3 innings and four starts this spring.
How long Hoffman and De Leon stay in the rotation may depend not only on how they pitch but on how fast Sonny Gray (back spasms) and Michael Lorenzen (shoulder strain) can return from injuries. The Reds are being cautious with both.
“I want to win games at the beginning of the year just like everyone else,” Johnson said. “I also don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we go too fast with a guy, and all of a sudden, we’re down two or three starters simply because we were in a rush to get them going for April 1. April 1 doesn’t mean anything to me. April 1 is when we’re going to start playing baseball for real. But it doesn’t mean anything to me in terms of how we’re going to handle getting these guys ready.”
NOTES: The Reds released reliever Noe Ramirez on Saturday. They acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels for Raisel Iglesias in December. Ramirez had a 9.00 ERA in six appearances this spring. He allowed three earned runs in six innings.
• The Reds reassigned infielder Nicky Delmonico and pitcher Josh Osich to minor-league camp.
• The Reds (7-18) lost 6-3 to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Joey Votto made his second straight appearance since returning from the injured list and went 1-for-3. Jesse Winker homered for the second straight day. Jonathan India hit his third home run of the spring. Castillo made his last start of the spring and allowed two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.