GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The one day off at Spring Training came for the Reds on Wednesday, which is the only thing that could put a pause on the battle for roster spots. Camp breaks in nine days, and the club still has many things to figure out before picking its
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The one day off at Spring Training came for the Reds on Wednesday, which is the only thing that could put a pause on the battle for roster spots. Camp breaks in nine days, and the club still has many things to figure out before picking its final 25 for Opening Day.
There are 40 players remaining on the spring roster. Here's a look at the battles, the locks and the rest.
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• First baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Zack Cozart, third baseman Eugenio Suarez, catcher Devin Mesoraco, center fielder Billy Hamilton and right fielder Jay Bruce.
Coming back from surgeries that gave them late debuts, Mesoraco, Cozart and Hamilton have shown no signs of trouble. All are getting extra at-bats on the Minor League side to catch up.
• The rotation will definitely have Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias and Alfredo Simon.
• In the bullpen, all that is known is J.J. Hoover will be the closer.
Looking very good
• Brandon Finnegan got roughed up his last time out, but he has looked mostly solid otherwise. It would take an injury to keep him out of the rotation at this point.
• If Jon Moscot recovers from a left intercostal strain soon, he should have enough time to make the rotation. If Moscot does not, the last starter in will likely be Tim Melville.
• Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler seem poised to be the platoon in left field. Both have shown power, and Duvall has the added versatility of being able to play both corner-infield spots, too.
• Jose Peraza has been good as advertised as a hitter, fielder and speedster after a slow start in the early games. He can play both middle-infield spots and center field. The only question is if Peraza can get enough at-bats in the regular season so he can keep developing.
• Ivan De Jesus Jr. seems to be in good shape to join Peraza as another utility infielder.
• Tucker Barnhart appears poised to again be the backup catcher. Ramon Cabrera is well-regarded and brings a nice bat, but he would be the fallback option if something happened to Mesoraco or Barnhart.
• With Hoover closing, the Reds' bullpen has six roles open if the team decides to carry 12 pitchers. In the mix are Tony Cingrani, Caleb Cotham, Dayan Diaz, Jumbo Diaz, Drew Hayes, Ryan Mattheus, Chris O'Grady, JC Ramirez, Keyvius Sampson, Pedro Villarreal and Blake Wood.
From that group, Cingrani has given up one earned run all spring, same as Villarreal. On the other hand, it's been a struggle for Wood. The only free agent signed to a big league contract prior to camp, Wood has given up 10 earned runs and 17 hits over 9 1/3 innings. From this group, O'Grady is a Rule 5 Draft player, and he would have to be returned to the Angels if he doesn't make the team.
None of the roles leading up to the ninth inning have been defined yet in manager Bryan Price's mind.
"There's certainly pressure for those still in the hunt for spots in the bullpen," Price said Tuesday afternoon. "I get it, but I think that's the positive thing about a Spring Training like this, you get an opportunity to put players in a position where they have to compete for something. When they pitch in the big leagues, there's going to be pressure. How you handle what's happening here is a good indicator for what might happen with those that make the club.
"There's still time for guys that are having a rough spring to finish strong and make a push. We have to start to see it."
• For the extra bench spot, it's a three-way battle between Yorman Rodriguez, Tyler Holt and Jake Cave, if Cincinnati decides to carry another outfielder. Some roster juggling might be required here since Rodriguez is out of options and Cave is a Rule 5 Draft selection.
Signed for $2.5 million as a 16-year-old in 2008, Rodriguez has played poorly both offensively and defensively this spring. Now 23 and out of options, he is definitely young enough to figure things out for another club and be successful if he doesn't clear waivers, while the Reds may have lost out on their investment.
Holt and Cave are similar players -- they play all three spots, don't hit for power and can be high-energy types off the bench.
• Jordan Pacheco is versatile enough to play every infield position, except for shortstop, and can be a third catcher. That could be enticing, too.
Destined for the disabled list
Starting pitchers Homer Bailey (Tommy John surgery rehab), John Lamb (back surgery rehab) and Michael Lorenzen (right elbow strain) could all join the rotation early in the season if they have no setbacks. Non-roster catcher Kyle Skipworth remains in big league camp for now, but he has not played while recovering from ankle surgery.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.