TORONTO -- The Reds optioned reliever Robert Stephenson to Triple-A Louisville prior to Tuesday's game in Toronto, recalling Jackson Stephens to provide length out of the bullpen.Stephenson threw 55 pitches in Monday's 17-2 loss, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits over just two innings of work. After Jake Buchanan
TORONTO -- The Reds optioned reliever Robert Stephenson to Triple-A Louisville prior to Tuesday's game in Toronto, recalling Jackson Stephens to provide length out of the bullpen.
Stephenson threw 55 pitches in Monday's 17-2 loss, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits over just two innings of work. After Jake Buchanan handled the back end of the blowout loss, the move was still more about roster need than Stephenson's performance.
"It wouldn't have been made today unless we had a game where we used our two length guys," said Reds manager Bryan Price.
Stephens will be making his MLB debut at the age 23 for the Reds, after making 10 starts in Triple-A with a 5.79 ERA. Back in Louisville, Stephenson is expected to focus on stretching out as a potential starting option with a particular focus on the slider that he's recently added.
"The first two months of the season have served him well," Price said of Stephenson, "in that he's had a small handful of games where he wasn't very good and a much larger number of games where he was very good."
Length should be no issue for Stephens if that is the role Cincinnati needs him in. He's pitched at least six innings in six of his last seven starts and topped 100 pitches in three of those. His last start came on May 26, which means that Wednesday's series finale in Toronto would have been his scheduled start day. He will be the ninth Reds player to make his MLB debut this season.
• Reliever Tony Cingrani is tentatively scheduled to continue his rehab with Triple-A Louisville, pitching one inning on Thursday and making a second appearance on Saturday. He will be re-assessed at that point, but Price said that Cingrani has had "no post-pitching issues" thus far.
• Starter Brandon Finnegan has worked up to about 40 pitches and could see some action in extended spring training in the first few days of June. Much like Homer Bailey, the Reds would like to build him up to three or four innings before beginning his official rehab with a Minor League affiliate so that they can fully utilize the 30-day maximum if needed.
Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.