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Reed believes he should be rotation candidate

After 'encouraging' outing, lefty says he's one of Reds' 'five top guys'
MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan have created extra openings in the rotation. On Saturday, left-hander Cody Reed was given a prime opportunity to showcase himself. After he pitched four innings in a 5-4 Reds win over the Giants, Reed was not shy about showing his desire to start.

When camp opened, manager Bryan Price expected Reed to compete for a bullpen spot.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan have created extra openings in the rotation. On Saturday, left-hander Cody Reed was given a prime opportunity to showcase himself. After he pitched four innings in a 5-4 Reds win over the Giants, Reed was not shy about showing his desire to start.

When camp opened, manager Bryan Price expected Reed to compete for a bullpen spot.

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"Who says I can't be a starter? Who says I'm not one of the top five guys?" Reed said. "Whoever does, they need to re-evaluate what they're saying. I'm think I'm good enough to pitch with the five top guys. I know I'm one of them. I'll be the best bullpen guy there is and I'll be the best starter I can be with those five guys. I got the opportunity today and thought I made pretty good progress."

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Reed gave up two earned runs and six hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Although he was sprayed with hits, he showed good command.

"Really, overall it was a three-pitch mix and really good sliders in on the righties, a good changeup and fastball command," Price said. "It was really encouraging."

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Both of Reed's runs came in the fourth inning on solo homers hit by Buster Posey and Austin Slater on 0-2 counts.

"Everyone knows I throw a slider to strike guys out. I have to show I can use an out-pitch with my fastball," said Reed, who has a 5.11 ERA in six games. "I shook [off the] slider and threw the fastball. It missed back over the plate and Buster Posey is the type of guy who doesn't miss those. The next guy was the same thing. I got quick outs right after that and got back into the dugout. I felt good about throwing strikes."

Video: CHC@CIN: Reed fans Russell in the 1st inning

Tyler Mahle, Sal Romano and Amir Garrett are among those also vying for rotation spots. There are also bullpen spots available, and both Garrett and Reed are in the mix.

"I thought he's had a good spring," Price said of Reed. "He's one of the guys that will come all the way to the end to put together our best club. He's not hurting himself."

Finnegan update

Finnegan, who hasn't pitched since leaving Sunday's start after two batters with a left forearm spasm, threw what Price called a "light bullpen" session of 15 pitches on Friday.

"I believe he'll throw another one [Sunday]. If all goes well, we can anticipate sliding him into a game," Price said on Saturday morning.

With less than two weeks left before Opening Day, there's little chance for Finnegan to get stretched out for enough innings by then. The left-hander, who was limited to four games last season because of injuries, pitched a simulated game on March 1 and worked two innings vs. Cleveland on March 6.

Video: CIN@SEA: Finnegan exits game with injury in 1st

Price hasn't ruled out Finnegan making the rotation as the fifth starter, which wouldn't likely be needed until April 9.

"If the goal was to be on the Opening Day roster, that would be a challenge -- to do it as a starter. He really needs to gain reps," Price said. "We just haven't been able to build him up and build endurance. That's going to take time."

Bench battle for Blandino

Whether Reds infield prospect Alex Blandino makes the team at the end of camp, he has not squandered his opportunity for a bench spot. The No. 19 prospect in the organization, according to MLB Pipeline, Blandino is batting .357 (10-for-28) this spring.

Blandino has played at second base, shortstop and third base.

"When someone is coming up [from the Minors] especially, your goal is to be in the Major Leagues and contribute and help your club win," said Blandino, who was 1-for-2 while starting at second base in Saturday's game. "I came into camp trying to keep things simple and show some versatility on defense and have consistently good at-bats. It's definitely good to be here, and I'm just enjoying the ride."

Video: CIN@LAA: Blandino hits RBI single off Cowart's glove

Blandino, 25, is aided by being on the 40-man roster already. He struggled in 2015 and '16 before bouncing back last season. Blandino batted .265/.382/.453 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs over 125 games combined with Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville.

"He's been a .360-, .370-, .380-on-base guy. I think he understands the strike zone," Price said. "He does a lot of good things. He's certainly a guy who would be under consideration. He's definitely in the hunt."

Up next

Garrett will get his latest shot when he starts vs. the D-backs at 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. Raisel Iglesias will also see action. Watch the game live on MLB.TV or listen to an audio webcast.

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, Cody Reed