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Reds not settled on Cueto's replacement

ST. LOUIS -- The starting pitcher who will take Johnny Cueto's spot in the Reds' rotation and pitch on Thursday vs. the Pirates remains shrouded in mystery. The only absolute is that it won't be left-hander Tony Cingrani.

That's because Cingrani started on Monday for Triple-A Louisville. He was expected to be the first replacement summoned if a starting pitcher was traded. But he did not help his cause with a poor 2 2/3-inning, five-runs-allowed performance last Wednesday vs. the Cubs before being sent to Louisville.

"Once we sent him down [after Wednesday's game], he was going to essentially need 10 days for him to be ready to go," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "And following his start against the Cubs, it makes sense to make at least one start in Triple-A, and throw the ball better than he did against Chicago."

Cincinnati needs a starter after it traded Cueto to the Royals on Sunday for left-handed pitching prospects Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed.

"We've got a couple of guys in mind," Price said. "I've spoken to [pitching coach] Teddy Power in Triple-A and got some insight from him on what he's seen. We'll speak about it internally. We have not committed to anyone yet."

Price provided no insight to who was being considered. Reds No. 1 prospect Robert Stephenson is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday for Louisville, but he has yet to be scratched and isn't on the 40-man roster. Lefty David Holmberg is on the 40-man roster and slated to pitch Wednesday for the Bats. Holmberg, who made five big league starts last season, has a 4.40 ERA in 19 games this season at Triple-A.

Donn Roach, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs on July 13, is slated to make his third start for Louisville on Thursday but isn't on the 40-man roster.

One very intriguing pitcher would be the just acquired Lamb, who last started for Triple-A Omaha last Thursday.

Video: Top Prospects: John Lamb, LHP, Reds

Lamb, 25, is 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA in 17 starts at Omaha and is on Cincinnati's 40-man roster. Over 94 1/3 innings, he has allowed 80 hits and 29 walks and 96 strikeouts. Before he had Tommy John surgery in 2011, he was Kansas City's top prospect.

Other items of note from Monday:

• Lefty reliever Manny Parra, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left elbow since July 20, has not resumed throwing.

"He still has a little bit of soreness in the back of his elbow, which is a little bit more like a bone bruise. It's providing some discomfort," Price said.

• Left-hander Sean Marshall, who had left shoulder surgery in May, continues to make progress and is throwing over 120 feet without issues.

"He's feeling great. It's really exciting," Price said. "When we return, we can at least start discuss a potential throwing program which includes [bullpen sessions], and if all that goes well, set up a rehabilitation [assignment] scheduled for Sean. That would get us all excited and we'd be thrilled to have him back on a rehab schedule that's leading him toward getting back on the mound."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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