Reds comfortable with Turner as third catcher

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 06: Stuart Turner #32 of the Cincinnati Reds drives in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park on April 6, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Phillies 7-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 06: Stuart Turner #32 of the Cincinnati Reds drives in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park on April 6, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Phillies 7-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Pirates, who opened a four-game series with the Reds on Monday night, came to town as the perfect example of the advantages of keeping three catchers on an active roster.

When Francisco Cervelli showed up for Sunday’s game in Miami with pain in his right foot, the Pirates’ only option was to place an emergency call across the state to Bradenton, where Jon Bormann was playing for the Single-A Marauders. Bormann hurriedly drove to Miami – making what Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said is normally a three-hour trip in two – and joined the Pirates in time for the game, even logging his first major league at bat in the ninth inning.

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That’s one reason Cincinnati manager Bryan Price likes having Rule 5 pickup Stuart Turner on hand, along with Devin Mesoraco and Tucker Barnhart.

“We feel like he’s ready to catch here,” Price said before Monday’s game. “If you don’t have guys on your roster – or if you do have guys on your roster and you don’t think they’re ready – you really don’t want to bring those guys up to this environment. It’s hard to have that much catching depth to always feel like you’ve got a guy on the ready whenever you need a guy.”

Having that third catcher allowed Price to comfortably use Mesoraco as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 5-4 win at St. Louis. Mesoraco contributed a single to help load the bases for Joey Votto, who delivered the tiebreaking single.

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The downside is it can stunt the development process. The 25-year-old Turner went into Monday’s game hitting .222 in just six games. Three of his four hits were doubles, and he also had driven in three runs.

“It really slows down the process with Stuart,” Price admitted. “It’s great for Devin and Tucker and for our team. What I’m able to do is make those types of decisions as I did (Sunday). Without Stuart, it’s a tougher decision to make. In the same respect, Stuart’s not going to play much. There’s some really good things that go with having three catchers. However, one of them is the third catcher typically doesn’t play much.”

Cingrani update: Left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani, who went on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique on April 21, could begin a throwing program this week, Price said.

“I know that he does not have any soreness with the oblique,” the manager said. “That doesn’t mean the oblique isn’t still irritated, but in those first four, five or six days, there was a way to create the soreness through certain exercises or positions. He’s not recreating any soreness currently. I think we thought there was a chance he could initiate his throwing program late this past week. That didn’t happen, but I would anticipate that would be initiated relatively soon on the front end of this homestand.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep this particular injury from going and getting really sideways on us and being a long rehab. We’ll see. I would imagine he’s going to be throwing here in the next few days. He’ll have to check off some boxes in regards to this throwing, long toss and bullpens, and then certainly we’re going to make sure we get him into a game. We knew that going into this. We’ll get him into at least one game to verify that he doesn’t have any soreness before we reactivate him.”

Cingrani, 27, has no record and a 1.93 earned-run average, five strikeouts and one walk in five games this season.

Up next: Right-hander Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25 ERA) is projected to make his third career start against Pittsburgh and first since 2010 for Texas on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. Right-hander Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98) is Pittsburgh's scheduled starter.

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