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Christiani taking advantage of opportunity

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The Reds certainly would have preferred not to have opened the regular season with three relievers on the disabled list and another one in the rotation.

Alas, the adversity has yielded a bright spot, as it's given rookie reliever Nick Christiani a chance to step up. Christiani has worked three games, allowing just two hits over 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

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ST. LOUIS -- The Reds certainly would have preferred not to have opened the regular season with three relievers on the disabled list and another one in the rotation.

Alas, the adversity has yielded a bright spot, as it's given rookie reliever Nick Christiani a chance to step up. Christiani has worked three games, allowing just two hits over 4 2/3 scoreless innings.

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"I feel like I'm throwing the ball pretty well," Christiani said on Wednesday. "I'm able to be used in a multitude of situations and I'm trying to be useful to help the team any way I can."

Because of injuries, Cincinnati is without Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall and was missing Jonathan Broxton until his activation from the disabled list on Tuesday. Alfredo Simon is in the rotation until Mat Latos can return. Those losses enabled Christiani and Trevor Bell to make the team. While Bell struggled in his two outings and is now on the DL himself, Christiani has thrived thus far.

"He's been terrific," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I think we're all confident Nick would do a good job if he made our club out of Spring Training. If we were whole, he would have been hard-pressed to have made the team. He's taken advantage of his opportunities. He's given me one more guy to have confidence in bringing in late-game situations. That's how it starts -- opportunity, taking advantage of opportunity and then increasing your role on the club. He's certainly headed in that direction."

Christiani, 26, had twice entered in the fifth inning before working the eighth of Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the Cardinals. He pitched two innings in Monday's 5-3 defeat. The right-hander has yet to enter with a lead to protect, but he's kept the opponent from adding on, which at least enables the possibility of a comeback for his team.

"My mindset is to be ready from the time the first pitch is thrown," Christiani said. "You never know when your number will get called. Those important innings can be in the ninth inning or the third inning. You never know when the game can swing."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds, Nick Christiani