SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Through two appearances this spring, pitcher Amir Garrett has shown to be resolute in his bid to pitch his way into the Reds' rotation.Garrett enjoyed another dominant performance while working three innings of relief in the Reds' 3-2 win over the Giants on Friday. In three scoreless
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Through two appearances this spring, pitcher Amir Garrett has shown to be resolute in his bid to pitch his way into the Reds' rotation.
Garrett enjoyed another dominant performance while working three innings of relief in the Reds' 3-2 win over the Giants on Friday. In three scoreless innings, the lefty struck out the first six batters he faced.
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"I'm on a mission right now. Nobody is going to stop that. I am very determined," Garrett said. "I am going out there every outing to prove something, to earn back what was mine. I'm going out there and just having fun, but I'm handling business as well."
In his previous outing on Sunday vs. the White Sox, Garrett struck out four of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings.
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The strikeout streak ended in the eighth inning, when Giants leadoff batter Orlando Calixte reached on an error by shortstop Nick Senzel. Garrett got three consecutive groundouts to retire the rest of the side in order.
"I'm working on stuff still, location of pitches and, as you can see, it's working a little bit better for me," Garrett said. "I'm changing grips on some stuff. I'm able to get guys out and just go out there and pitch."
Against Chicago in the final two innings of the previous game, Garrett faced mostly prospects, including the heralded Luis Robert, the No. 28 ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Even though Garrett was working the later innings against San Francisco as well, he saw mostly big league hitters.
"He just came in, he's ready," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "His arm slot is where it needs to be, his delivery is repeatable and he's throwing three quality pitches. At this point in time in the season, early in Spring Training, to be this sharp really has kind of put him out in front of the pack as a standout."
Garrett, 25, pitched his way on to the Opening Day roster last season. But he often struggled as a rookie, going 3-8 with 7.39 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 16 games, including 14 starts. He also battled inflammation in his right hip.
Heading into camp, Price handicapped the competition and had Garrett near the bottom of the list of rotation contenders. A chance to make the bullpen is also possible. Could he elevate his way ahead of others in the rotation battle?
"Throw the strikeouts out -- it makes it more impressive, but commanding the strike zone, showing better velocity and better pitch quality, it does stand out, no doubt about that," Price said. "That's really what he needs to do is he needs to show he's one of the best 12 to make this staff. He's done nothing to hurt himself."
Second baseman Dilson Herrera is dealing with inflammation in his surgically repaired right shoulder and hasn't played in a game since Wednesday.
"He'll be back in there most likely on [March 4]," Price said. "We don't see it as a major setback. It's just part of the recovery of the surgery he had on the back of his shoulder."
Herrera had shoulder issues that hindered his 2017 Spring Training, and he had right shoulder surgery on Aug. 1. One thing to be aware of is Herrera is out of Minor League options as he tries to earn a roster spot on the bench.
Lefty pitcher Joe Mantiply has been dealing with what Price called "Spring Training tenderness," and the club will be conservative and holding him back for a couple of days.
Lefty claimed off waivers
The Reds claimed left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Tigers on Friday, and promptly sent him to the Minor League camp. To make room for Labourt on the 40-man roster, pitcher Rookie Davis (October hip surgery) was placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Labourt, who turns 24 on March 7, pitched at three Minor League levels last season, including Triple-A, and produced a 2.17 ERA in 45 games. In six big league games for Detroit, he posted a 4.50 ERA.
First camp cuts
On Friday morning, the Reds made their first spring roster cuts. Right-handed pitchers Barrett Astin, Ben Rowen and Domingo Tapia were re-assigned to the Minor League camp.
Cincinnati's Spring Training roster is at 62 players after the transactions.
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.