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Flourishing Garrett to remain in bullpen

After struggling as starter in 2017, left-hander has pitched well in '18
MLB.com @m_sheldon

MILWAUKEE -- On a pitching staff that ranks last in the Majors in ERA, reliever Amir Garrett has been a shining beacon of success out of the bullpen. But the Reds have no plans to shift Garrett back to his previous role as a starter.

The left-hander has easily been the Reds' best pitcher through Sunday, with six scoreless appearances. In his 8 1/3 innings of relief, he has allowed six hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts. Despite most of the young rotation experiencing struggles, however, he's likely to stay in that spot.

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MILWAUKEE -- On a pitching staff that ranks last in the Majors in ERA, reliever Amir Garrett has been a shining beacon of success out of the bullpen. But the Reds have no plans to shift Garrett back to his previous role as a starter.

The left-hander has easily been the Reds' best pitcher through Sunday, with six scoreless appearances. In his 8 1/3 innings of relief, he has allowed six hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts. Despite most of the young rotation experiencing struggles, however, he's likely to stay in that spot.

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"It's always a possibility. We're just as needy in the bullpen as we are in the rotation," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Monday afternoon. "I think his ability to come with that natural aggressiveness without having to temper it plays well to his skill set.

"He's coming in with really his best stuff as long as he's out there, anywhere from the top hitters to two-plus innings. It's nice to have."

Garrett, who turns 26 on May 3, did not fare well working mostly as a starter in 2017, going 3-8 with a 7.49 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 16 games (14 starts). He also was affected by right hip inflammation. But he returned healthy this year and had an excellent Spring Training, posting a 3.18 ERA in six Cactus League games.

Cincinnati's bullpen, which currently carries eight relievers, also has a lefty in Wandy Peralta, as well as Cody Reed, who was moved to a relief role when Brandon Finnegan returned from the disabled list Saturday.

"Wandy could very easily get overused if we don't have support down there," Price said. "Right now, without [Michael] Lorenzen, [Garrett] can come into a game where a lot of runs are being scored and stem the tide a little bit.

"I like [Garrett] where he's at. He's already a confident kid, but he's building a lot of confidence in his stuff and his ability."

Winker improving

Reds outfielder Jesse Winker has been out of the lineup -- and limited to pinch-running -- since he was scratched due to a right shoulder contusion Friday. He was cleared Monday to resume swinging a bat. After hitting off a tee and taking underhand flips from a coach, he took batting practice.

"I felt good with those," Winker said before BP.

Clearly, it was enough of a test that Winker was allowed to pinch-hit in the Reds' 10-4 win over the Brewers. Batting in the eighth inning, he drew a walk on five pitches but only had to swing once.

Winker traced his injury back to April 2, when he tried to make a diving catch vs. the Cubs.

"There were days after when it felt good and days when it didn't feel so good," he said.

Video: CHC@CIN: Winker lays out for a tough diving grab

Schebler rehab moved

Reds right fielder Scott Schebler, who went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Sunday while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville, is headed for warmer weather with Double-A Pensacola. Louisville's Monday game at Buffalo was postponed due to snow.

"They're expecting more stuff [Tuesday]," Price said. "Between the limited probability they would play and the weather, it made sense to shift him down to the Pensacola team in hopes the weather will cooperate and he can get regular at-bats there for a day or two. Then we'll assess."

Video: WSH@CIN: Schebler gets hit by pitch, stays in

Pensacola is playing a five-game series at Mississippi this week. Schebler has been out since being hit on the right elbow by a pitch on April 1. The ball struck his ulnar nerve and Schebler lost the feeling in his pinky and ring fingers for several days.

Worth noting

The Reds traded Triple-A Louisville catcher Tony Sanchez to the Rangers on Monday for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

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