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Garrett eyes rotation following strong start

MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Even before his start for the Reds vs. the D-backs on Sunday, Amir Garrett sensed a strong performance was coming as he warmed up with catcher Tucker Barnhart.

"Tucker was really getting me going today, screaming at me, 'Yeah!' And firing me up. I felt good just from the beginning," Garrett said.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Even before his start for the Reds vs. the D-backs on Sunday, Amir Garrett sensed a strong performance was coming as he warmed up with catcher Tucker Barnhart.

"Tucker was really getting me going today, screaming at me, 'Yeah!' And firing me up. I felt good just from the beginning," Garrett said.

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Garrett turned in four scoreless innings, with one infield hit and one walk during a 6-3 Reds win over Arizona. The left-hander also struck out four. Through five games, he has a 1.38 ERA.

"I thought he had better stuff than most of his previous outings before today," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Today, he was a little lateral and wasn't behind the ball quite as well. But, he found a way to manage the game without his best command. That, to me, says a lot about where he is with his confidence and his ability to compete his way through some of the challenges."

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All that remains in the final week of camp for Garrett is to learn whether he has earned a spot in the rotation or bullpen. Cincinnati has three spots open in the rotation and a couple of spots available for relievers.

"If I'm not one of the best five, I definitely think I am one of the best 12," Garrett said. "Wherever I'm at on the roster -- bullpen or starting -- I feel that I can help the team win. I did what I had to do. I came here and did what I said I was going to do. Now it's just up to them. Everything is out of my hands now."

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Garrett came into camp not considered among the top tier of starters competing for the fifth starter's job. But injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan -- and Garrett's strong spring -- have changed the dynamic.

While Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano appear to have the inside track now for two spots, Garrett could claim the fifth spot. But, he feels he could handle the job as a reliever well, too.

"I'm just a baller, man. I will do whatever to help the team win," Garrett said. "I feel l can help the team in multiple ways. I want them to know that."

Video: ARI@CIN: Garrett competing for fifth rotation spot

Injury report

Second baseman Scooter Gennett, who has been out since Thursday with a sore right shoulder, has resumed throwing the past two days. Price expected Gennett to return to the lineup on Monday, but not at his usual position.

"He's going to DH tomorrow. I originally had him in the lineup [Sunday]," Price said. "We decided, since it's a home game, I can control having the DH. So, we're going to DH tomorrow and if everything goes well, he could play second base before the off day on Tuesday night. He should be ready to really hit the ground running when we hit that off day. I'm not concerned."

Finnegan (left forearm spasm) threw 25 pitches in the bullpen on Sunday at full effort. The left-hander, who threw 15 pitches in a light bullpen on Friday, will likely get slotted into a game this week if he feels OK after throwing.

Castillo returns

Luis Castillo was back in camp after spending a few days in New York to be present for the birth of his daughter, Brittany. Castillo threw a bullpen session on Sunday, and is slated to pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday.

Jagielo traded

On Saturday, the Reds traded Minor League infielder Eric Jagielo to the Marlins for cash. Jagielo was one of four players acquired from the Yankees in the Dec. 28, 2015, trade for closer Aroldis Chapman. Only pitcher Rookie Davis remains in the Reds' organization since that deal, and he's currently on the 60-day disabled list rehabilitating from right hip surgery. Infielder Tony Renda is in Arizona's organization and reliever Caleb Cotham has retired.

Up next

Robert Stephenson, who is trying to hang in the battle for a rotation spot, but has largely struggled this spring with a 9.00 ERA, is scheduled to pitch in Monday's 9:05 p.m. ET game vs. the Cubs. Listen to the game live on Gameday Audio.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Amir Garrett