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Finnegan called up to join Reds' pitching staff

Former Royals lefty was involved in July 26 trade for Cueto

CINCINNATI -- Left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan didn't expect to be on the short list of the Reds' September callups from Triple-A Louisville, or to be promoted back to the big leagues at all.

"Not really. I wasn't going to get ahead of myself," Finnegan said on Tuesday after he joined the club at Great American Ball Park. "I knew the transition from being a reliever last year to going to starting wasn't going that well. My stuff has been great, but the outcome just wasn't what I wanted it to be. I'm just happy to be here."

Finnegan, 22, was one of three young and promising lefties acquired from the Royals in the July 26 trade for ace Johnny Cueto. Finnegan was 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in eight starts for Louisville and 0-6 with a 5.65 ERA in 19 games this season, including 15 starts, at Double-A and Triple-A for both organizations.

Video: [email protected]: Finnegan escapes two-on, no-out jam

The 17th overall pick in the 2014 Draft by the Royals, Finnegan reached the Majors in September and became the first player ever to appear in the College World Series and World Series in the same season. He made seven postseason relief appearances as Kansas City won the American League title. That was also the beginning of some instability with his role.

"It's one of those things where I came into Spring Training not knowing what I was going to do," Finnegan said. "I came in and my arm was out of shape, so I wasn't ready to go. I went out to Double-A and I started, and I threw well. As soon as I got two starts, I left for Kansas City and then came back down and made a start, and then went to the 'pen and then went back up and just went all over the place. It's one of those things where I couldn't get in a starting routine.

"It was tough, but it's fun, it's all part of it and I know it's just what happens. I'm still young, so hopefully I still have a lot of years to come."

The Reds project Finnegan to be a starting pitcher in their big picture, and he will get to challenge for a rotation spot in 2016. But he will work from the bullpen this month, at least initially.

"However, there could be times we utilize him as a starter," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Finnegan, who had a 2.59 ERA in 21 big league relief appearances for the Royals, made it clear that he prefers to be a starter.

"I've done it my whole life. I want to show people I can start at this level," Finnegan said. "If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. I can fall back on the relieving part. That's worked so far. We'll just see how it goes."

• The Reds activated outfielder Brennan Boesch from the disabled list after a three-game rehab assignment with Louisville. On Aug. 22, Boesch fouled a ball off his right ankle and sustained a deep bone bruise.

• Double-A Pensacola left-hander Cody Reed, who was also part of the Cueto trade, was named the Southern League pitcher of the week for the second time in five weeks. In two starts last week, Reed threw 14 scoreless innings with 17 strikeouts. Class A Advanced Daytona lefty Seth Varner was named the Florida State League's pitcher of the week. Varner allowed three singles over 12 scoreless innings in two starts with no walks and 13 strikeouts.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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