Stephenson takes step back in fight for rotation spot

Reds starter Robert Stephenson pitches against the Rockies on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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Reds starter Robert Stephenson pitches against the Rockies on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

The bus to Cincinnati is leaving with five starting pitchers. Robert Stephenson needs to have some good outings in the next 13 days or he’ll miss that bus.

An extra seat popped open when Anthony DeSclafani strained his left oblique, still, Sal Romano, Michael Lorenzen and Tyler Mahle, who started against the Indians on Thursday, have all pitched well this spring. Amir Garrett and Cody Reed have added their names for consideration with good performances.

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Stephenson takes a step back

The Reds sent Sal Romano to pitch in a minor league game to allow Stephenson to start the game against Arizona on Wednesday.

Stephenson gave up four earned runs on five hits and two walks over two innings. He pitched behind in the count and his fastball was hit hard as a result. The last time out on March 8 against Colorado, Stephenson had his best outing — three innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball.

“He had a lot of deep counts,” Bryan Price said Wednesday. “The first five guys got to a three-ball count. He didn’t have that fall back pitch to get back in the count. His fastball was hit pretty hard when he was behind in the count. I was hoping he’d feed off the last game here against the Rockies. The outs didn’t come as easy. He wasn’t sharp.”

Stephenson, a first-round pick by the Reds in 2011, allowed five runs in three innings in his first two appearances.

Finnegan progressing

Brandon Finnegan, who left the game Sunday with a knot in his biceps, played catch yesterday after two days of rest.

“He had minimal soreness,” Price said. “It was kind of anticipated to be the case. We expect that to decrease with each day. Until it’s gone, he won’t be back on the mound. I’m hoping its just another couple of days before he is back on the mound.”

Finnegan will have to throw a bullpen off the mound before pitching in a Cactus League game.

Scooter scratched

Scooter Gennett was in the original lineup against the Indians on Thursday but was scratched with a sore shoulder.

Brandon Dixon, who has played all over the infield, replaced Gennett in the lineup. Dixon is competing for a spot on the roster.

Reds hire Farrell

The Reds hired John Farrell as an internal scout.

Farrell was fired as the Boston Red Sox manager after last season.

Buddy Bell, the Reds’ new Vice President and Senior Advisor to Baseball Operations, reached out to Farrell.

Farrell will help evaluate the Reds’ players internally.

“We wanted to get a fresh pair of eyes on the players in our system,” Price said. “He is a very good talent evaluator, especially with pitching. You don’t have to worry about draft status or propect status or any preconceived ideas on the what the players should be. You just see a baseball team and define who you really like without thinking about whether the player is high profile or low profile. Maybe you see something that nobody else sees. You have to understand your players better than any other organization.”

Farrell’s son Luke pitched for the Reds last season, including a game in Cincinnati against his dad’s Red Sox. Luke Farrell was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs during the offseason.

The elder Farrell succeeded current Indians’ manager Terry Francona as the manager of the Red Sox in 2011. He led them

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