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Finnegan set to come off DL to start Monday

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The patience of rehab drove Brandon Finnegan crazy.

In his third start of the season on April 15, Finnegan suffered the first major injury of his career -- a shoulder injury -- that sent him to the disabled list. The left-hander has spent the past two months rehabbing, and made three Minor League starts in June.

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WASHINGTON -- The patience of rehab drove Brandon Finnegan crazy.

In his third start of the season on April 15, Finnegan suffered the first major injury of his career -- a shoulder injury -- that sent him to the disabled list. The left-hander has spent the past two months rehabbing, and made three Minor League starts in June.

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But Finnegan finally felt at ease Saturday. He's expected to come off the DL and rejoin the rotation against the Cardinals on Monday, so he traveled with the team to Washington for their final two games in the Reds' series against the Nationals, hanging out with his teammates for the first time in about a month.

"I was really excited to walk in, see all the guys and give them a hug and tell them what's up," Finnegan said. "I had to go through a whole pretty much second Spring Training, that was the worst part about it.

"It was definitely tough. It's tough to put into words how upset and mad I was. I couldn't at least do something to help these guys out when they needed it or just try to do something for the team. But hopefully Monday will change that."

Finnegan has a career 3.76 ERA and notched a 2.70 ERA in his three starts to begin the season. The 24-year-old pitched to a 3.00 ERA in three starts in the Minor Leagues this month, and he said he's pain free.

With Finnegan's return, the Reds' struggling rotation seems to be taking form for the first time this season. Cincinnati has lost 12 of its past 13 games, and its starters are 0-8 with a 7.49 ERA during that stretch. The Reds' bullpen has pitched the most innings in the Major Leagues due to the starters' inability to string together long starts.

But Homer Bailey made his first Major League start this season Saturday after undergoing elbow surgery in February. Plus, Luis Castillo, who's the fifth-best prospect in the Reds' organization according to MLBPipeline.com, will stay in the rotation after allowing two runs in five innings in his first Major League start Friday.

"This is what we've been waiting for," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Having Homer, having Finnegan back, bringing up one of our top pitching prospects in Castillo to come in and help stabilize the rotation, those are big moves for us. We've been battling and scraping and doing everything we can to stay competitive, and now we're starting to get healthy in our rotation.

"That should certainly be something that helps us kind of get over this current struggle."

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Cincinnati Reds, Brandon Finnegan