Sports Today: Who is going to make the Reds rotation?

With college basketball season in Ohio over, it’s time to gear up for baseball!

So naturally the story of yesterday was an injury to a Cincinnati Reds pitcher.

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Before we get too far down the, "Here we go again" road, though, it sounds like Michael Lorenzen's strained shoulder muscle isn't too serious from a long-term perspective.

This being the Reds’ training staff, that doesn’t mean it won’t linger all year and eventually ruin his season, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

If he isn’t quite ready to start the season, they will probably be not much worse off since the bullpen is one place they spent some money in the offseason and I never really thought he was going to make the rotation.

There was also good news on the Reds pitching injury front (RPIF, for short): Nine days after leaving a game with a forearm spasm, Brandon Finnegan returned to the mound and apparently had no issues.

He said he was going to be fine almost as soon as it happened, but you never know.

If he is ready to go for Opening Day, the Reds actually have the enviable problem of more qualified starters than they have rotation spots.

That's even with Anthony DeSclafani injured again and Robert Stephenson struggling most of the spring.

At the beginning of the week, the estimable Hal McCoy had four players in place for the rotation: Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano with Stephenson, Cody Reed, Lorenzen and Amir Garrett the four left in contention.

Then Lorenzen got hurt and Finnegan was able to pitch again, so perhaps now Finnegan ends up getting the fifth spot, which they will probably skip a couple of times to start the season anyway.

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I know there have been some calls for the Reds to sign a veteran starting pitcher, but I really don’t understand those at all given that all of the young guys in the running for rotation spots are real prospects with some major-league experience.

Their floors are lower, of course, but their ceilings are higher than anyone out there on the market (who would also cost a lot more).

At some point we have to see if these guys can do it, and any money that’s available now would look good if spent on more bullpen help or an extra bat if they are actually in a pennant push this summer.

After this season, it would seem they should have a good grasp on who can make it and who can’t. Then it would make more sense to invest in another veteran pitcher, even an innings-eater, especially if the lineup continues to develop into the strength it looked like at times last year…

We’ll have plenty of time to talk Reds between now and October.

I suspect we’ll also have a lot of college basketball talk. 

I referenced that yesterday, and David Jablonski took a closer look at the Dayton Flyers' offseason, too.

The recruiting never stops for Dayton coaches, and this offseason could be an especially busy one. Expect them to be active in recruiting transfers. The Dayton basketball Instagram account shared a photo on Monday of Kevin Dillard, Jordan Sibert, Charles Cooke and Josh Cunningham — four transfers who have led Dayton in scoring the last seven years — and it looked like a message to potential transfers who might consider the Flyers.. 

The first season of the Anthony Grant era included a lot of frustrating nights, but the Flyers have the makings of a pretty strong starting five next year even before we see what they get from true freshman Dwayne Cohill and redshirt freshman Obadiah Toppin.

That is, of course, assuming everyone in the projected starting lineup returns…

Coach Shauna Green is excited for the future of her Dayton women’s basketball program, too. 

She’s still looking for her first NCAA tournament win, but the first two regular seasons of her tenure could hardly have gone better.

It’s never easy to replace a senior point guard like Jenna Burdette, but the Flyers add six new players to the mix next year, including three freshmen, two transfers and another player who missed this season with an ACL injury.

Early in her tenure, Green has proven two things: She knows how to get the best out of the players she has, and she knows how to sell the Dayton program — a program that is now well beyond being simply the product of one great coach or one big-time recruit or class.

As Burdette walks out the door, it’s worth remembering she was among the top prospects in Ohio as a senior, and four years ago she joined a team that already had a McDonald’s All-American and another four-star prospect.

That means this is not a team that has punched above its weight nor a scrappy bunch of over-achievers.

Those are fun stories, but you know what’s better? Having more talent than the other team most nights in the Atlantic 10…

And lastly as I continue to recap stuff from the annual blur that is the first weekend of the NCAA tournament: Wright State has a lot to feel good about moving forward, too.

They return three good freshmen in 6-foot-9 Loudon Love, the Horizon League Freshman of the Year, Jaylon Hall, the team's fourth leading scorer, and Everett Winchester, who was one Raider who played with some confidence against the Vols and finished with 11 points.

Also returning are a trio of upper classmen in solid point guard in Cole Gentry, a defensive specialist in Mark Hughes and 6-foot-11 Parker Ernsthausen.

"The expectations for our whole team should change in terms of how we prepare for next year and what they think," Nagy said. "We primarily lose one guy that has played for us and we're adding six good players. So our depth is going to change a lot. It's going to be very competitive."

Add to that a four-man recruiting class that includes Moeller's Jeremiah Davenport and it's easy to think the Raiders won't have to wait another decade to dance again in the NCAA tournament.

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