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Reds claim left-hander Nicolino off waivers

Following latest roster cuts, Cincy looking to shore up bullpen
MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- On the day of their final Cactus League game, the Reds claimed left-handed pitcher Justin Nicolino off waivers from the Marlins on Sunday.

Nicolino, 26, posted a 5.23 ERA in five spring games for Miami. In parts of three big league seasons, he is 10-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 50 games, including 33 starts. Twelve of his 20 games last season for the Marlins were in relief, and he posted a 4.70 ERA in those games.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- On the day of their final Cactus League game, the Reds claimed left-handed pitcher Justin Nicolino off waivers from the Marlins on Sunday.

Nicolino, 26, posted a 5.23 ERA in five spring games for Miami. In parts of three big league seasons, he is 10-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 50 games, including 33 starts. Twelve of his 20 games last season for the Marlins were in relief, and he posted a 4.70 ERA in those games.

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It remains to be seen how Nicolino will fit into the Reds' plans before they set the 25-man roster. The team plans to open with an eight-man bullpen, and depending on whether David Hernandez recovers from right shoulder stiffness, there should be two or three bullpen spots up for grabs.

Nicolino is out of options and would be exposed to the waiver wire again if the Reds decided to send him to the Minors. Also on the bubble for the final bullpen spots are Austin Brice, Zack Weiss and Vance Worley.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Castillo feels ready

In his final tuneup ahead of the regular season, Reds No. 2 starting pitcher Luis Castillo worked five innings vs. the Indians in a 6-4 loss on Sunday. Castillo gave up four earned runs and seven hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.

"Every time you're on the mound, you just want to work on something," Castillo said via translator Julio Morillo. "Especially at Spring Training, you have some things to work on. That was my mentality today -- go out there, do my thing, and I have more confidence for the season coming up."

Castillo, who was 3-7 with a 3.12 ERA in 15 starts for the Reds after his promotion from Double-A Pensacola last season, is excited to begin his first full big league season.

"I am ready for the season. These last couple weeks, it's more preparing mentally than physically for what's coming," Castillo said. "It's a long season coming up. Hopefully, I know that I'm going to do great."

Castillo finished spring with 4.73 ERA in four Cactus League outings. He also pitched in a Minor League game. He missed some time when he left camp to be present for the birth of his daughter.

Video: Outlook: Castillo dazzled in jump from Double-A

Injury report

Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who will start the season on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique, has been pain-free of late.

"[That] doesn't mean the injury has healed 100 percent, it just means that he can move around the house and do his exercises and do some conditioning that does not cause pain," Price said. "It's just not an injury that you can rush to recovery."

There isn't a known timetable for when DeSclafani could return to pitching. He missed all of last season with an elbow injury and was limited to 20 starts in 2016 by a similar oblique injury.

"I don't know if it's realistic to see him in May or if it's more realistic to see him in June. It certainly won't be in April," Price said.

Video: CIN@MIL: DeSclafani strikes out Santana looking

Reliever Kevin Shackelford will also go on the DL because of soreness in the flexor mass tendon near his right elbow. Shackelford, a bullpen contender, was enjoying a good spring, with six of his first seven appearances being scoreless.

Then the right-hander felt something during his final two outings, in which he allowed five earned runs over 2 1/3 innings.

"I'm shut down for a few days from throwing and taking anti-inflammatories to calm it down. Hopefully we'll kick up here soon and start throwing," Shackelford said. "It was unfortunate to happen at this time. But if I'm not healthy and can't pitch to my ability, I'm no good for the team."

Reed to be in Louisville rotation

One of the spring cuts on Sunday, left-handed pitcher Cody Reed will be part of the rotation at Triple-A Louisville. Reed came into camp competing for a bullpen spot but got a couple of chances to start in Cactus League or Minor League games.

Video: SF@CIN: Reed content with four-inning start

In six Cactus League games, Reed had a 5.11 ERA. Also going into the Louisville rotation will be Robert Stephenson, Jackson Stephens and Jose Lopez.

"I think the best-equipped is Cody. He's throwing the best out of that group," Price said. "We debated if he's better served pitching out of the bullpen for us or being stretched out and being in that first line of opportunity if something happens to [Brandon] Finnegan or one of the other starters along the way.

"That was a tough one. I thought he had a really nice camp. He did everything we asked of him. He's throwing a ton of strikes. He got back on top of the ball. Hs pitch quality was much, much better."

Up next: No. 3 starter Tyler Mahle will get the ball to start the Reds' 8:05 p.m. ET tilt vs. the Rangers on Monday in an exhibition game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The game can be watched 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, Justin Nicolino