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DeSclafani finds 'groove' in scoreless outing

Reds righty missed all of 2017 with elbow injury
MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani gave the Reds three scoreless innings in a 6-3 win over the Rangers on Friday night, but he had to work his way out of a near mess in the first inning.

After leadoff batter Delino DeShields Jr. reached on a single, Shin-Soo Choo walked. DeSclafani was able to recover when he got Jurickson Profar to ground to second base for a double play.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani gave the Reds three scoreless innings in a 6-3 win over the Rangers on Friday night, but he had to work his way out of a near mess in the first inning.

After leadoff batter Delino DeShields Jr. reached on a single, Shin-Soo Choo walked. DeSclafani was able to recover when he got Jurickson Profar to ground to second base for a double play.

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"That was perfect. It came at a perfect time," DeSclafani said.

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A foul pop to first base by Ryan Rua ended the top of the first inning. DeSclafani retired eight of his final nine batters in the outing, with only DeShields reaching on a two-out error in the third inning.

"I was able to kind of catch my groove," DeSclafani said. "I was throwing a lot of strikes and they were just hitting it on the ground. I had some quick innings after I got that double play. I thought it was about to be a long inning for a second [in the first]. It ended up turning out great."

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DeSclafani, who got seven of his batters to hit ground balls, said he felt on track for the regular season after he missed all of 2017 with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

"I feel good. I am throwing strikes," he said. "Just going through the process."

Rotation not set, yet
There is less than three weeks left before regular season begins, but manager Bryan Price hasn't named a starter for Opening Day against the Nationals on March 29. Price has also not determined Cincinnati's rotation yet, but there does appear to be a lining up of starters judging by the order of spring starts.

Luis Castillo pitched on Thursday, and following DeSclafani is Sal Romano, Brandon Finnegan and Homer Bailey. Romano is still battling for a rotation spot.

"You typically start spring with a general understanding of the way things could shake out or may shake out," Price said Friday afternoon. "We're lined in a way if I choose to stick with my original gut feeling that it won't be hard to line those guys up. We're not going to have to have guys wait seven or eight days to pitch three days into the season."

Video: Sheldon on the Reds' rotation for the 2018 season

Price has yet to set Finnegan into a spot, especially since he's coming back from missing most of last season with injuries. Finnegan made his Cactus League debut on Tuesday. Amir Garrett has pitched himself into the competition and Robert Stephenson had a three-scoreless-innings outing in relief on Thursday following two rougher performances.

"We still have a lot of competition for spots in the rotation," Price said. "I have a feeling this is going to go a ways longer until we define a starting five."

Surgery for Mantiply
Left-handed reliever Joe Mantiply, a non-roster invitee, had Tommy John surgery on his elbow Friday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Mantiply, 27, made two appearances and last pitched on Feb. 28.

The Reds signed Mantiply to a Minor League contract on Nov. 13 and invited him to camp after he spent last season in Triple-A with the Yankees organization.

Eight players cut
The Reds made eight spring cuts on Friday. Right-handed pitchers Ariel Hernandez, Jose Lopez, Keury Mella and Jesus Reyes, infielder Shed Long and outfielders Aristides Aquino and Jose Siri were optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Non-roster right-handed reliever Rafael De Paula was re-assigned to the Minor League camp. The moves leave 53 players remaining in camp.

"Guys that we feel will be better served in Minor League camp," Price said. "I think as early as [Monday], they're going to start some scrimmages. It'll give these guys a chance to play a little bit more, pitch a little more."

Up next
Romano will get the start in Saturday's 6:05 p.m. ET game vs. the Mariners in Goodyear. Top prospect Nick Senzel is slated to lead off and play shortstop. The game will be available to watch on MLB.TV and MLB Network.

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, Anthony DeSclafani