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Hernandez's status holding up 'pen finalization

Reliever candidate for DL; Brice, Weiss on bubble awaiting decision
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Come Friday, there will be a set Reds Opening Day 25-man roster to face the Nationals, but the club was not ready to complete those final decisions on Wednesday.

"We're still kind of whittling down the final piece or two of the bullpen," Reds manager Bryan Price said before Thursday's originally scheduled opener was postponed by rain in the forecast.

CINCINNATI -- Come Friday, there will be a set Reds Opening Day 25-man roster to face the Nationals, but the club was not ready to complete those final decisions on Wednesday.

"We're still kind of whittling down the final piece or two of the bullpen," Reds manager Bryan Price said before Thursday's originally scheduled opener was postponed by rain in the forecast.

One more cut was made on Wednesday afternoon when bullpen contender and non-roster invite Vance Worley was reassigned to the Minor League camp. Worley has an out clause in his contract to be released if he doesn't make the team. It remains to be seen if he will exercise that right.

Part of the lack of finality comes down to the status of reliever David Hernandez, who has not pitched since March 19, because of right shoulder stiffness. Hernandez is being evaluated by doctors before it's determined if he needs to be placed on the 10-day disabled list.

"That will have a ripple effect on those here with us," Price said. "We still have a couple -- or at least one -- decision to make in regards to finalizing the bullpen roster."

Wednesday's move keeps relievers Austin Brice and Zack Weiss on the roster bubble, pending the Hernandez decision. Both Brice and Weiss are already on the 40-man roster.

A fourth reliever who was claimed off waivers Sunday from the Marlins, Justin Nicolino, cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville on Monday.

According to league rules, Opening Day rosters must be set by 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday. Price did not rule out the possibility of a last-minute waiver claim that could also shake up the final roster decisions.

"Unfortunately, it's a really hard situation to juggle because you want to do the right thing by the players," Price said. "You don't want to take them all the way to this level, tomorrow is Opening Day, and we have a couple guys that aren't sure yet if they made the team or not. That's a tough situation. However, it's not uncommon. It's one of the uncomfortable parts of baseball, trying to find your best 25-man roster and look at all the options that grind all the way down, at times, to right before you set your roster on Opening Day."

Two other moves were completed on Wednesday -- both expected. Reliever Kevin Quackenbush and infielder Phil Gosselin -- non-roster players that won jobs in camp on Sunday -- were added to the 40-man roster. That leaves Cincinnati's 40-man roster at full capacity.

Rainout changes rotation
Because Thursday's Opening Day game vs. the Nationals was already postponed by rain on Wednesday, the Reds made a change in their starting rotation.

Homer Bailey will still pitch for the Reds against Max Scherzer in the 4:10 p.m. ET rescheduled game on Friday at Great American Ball Park. In Saturday's 2:10 p.m. game, Luis Castillo will start for Cincinnati against Stephen Strasburg.

On Sunday at 4:10 p.m. ET, Sal Romano will now start for the Reds against Gio Gonzalez. Tyler Mahle was originally scheduled to make that start but will now pitch on Monday vs. the Cubs.

Although there will be no game played on Thursday, the Reds will be working out on Thursday morning at the ballpark.

Video: Castellini discusses postponing Reds Opening Day

Opening Day festivities set
Friday will mark Price's fifth Opening Day as Reds manager and his ninth with the club. He was pitching coach under Dusty Baker from 2010-13.

"It's an awesome time," Price said. "It's the time when if the weather's cold, if it's damp, it doesn't matter. You come out here and everyone's going to be excited to start to play baseball with a lot more consequence."

Before the 4:10 p.m. ET game, singer Nicki Bluhm will perform the national anthem. The pregame flyover will be made by a pair of F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 112th Fighter Squadon "Stingers" from the 180th Fighter Wing Ohio Air National Guard based in Toledo, Ohio.

The ceremonial first pitch will be tossed by Olympic freeskier Nick Goepper. The Lawrenceburg, Ind., native was a silver medalist in slopestyle competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Reds Hall of Famer and former outfielder Eric Davis will deliver the official game ball, and his former teammate from the 1990 Reds, reliever Randy Myers, will serve as an honorary captain.

Up next
Bailey will open a season on the mound for the first time in his 11-year big league career when Cincinnati hosts its 142nd Opening Day vs. Washington. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

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, David Hernandez