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Romano pleased, racks up 4 K's in 1st start

MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds right-hander Sal Romano pitched in two spring games totaling three innings last year and logged four innings over his two appearances this spring. The outing Romano had in Tuesday's 7-3 win over the Royals was more significant, however, since it marked his first start in a Cactus League game.

Romano, ranked as the club's No. 9 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, did not disappoint. In his three innings, he allowed one earned run and two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds right-hander Sal Romano pitched in two spring games totaling three innings last year and logged four innings over his two appearances this spring. The outing Romano had in Tuesday's 7-3 win over the Royals was more significant, however, since it marked his first start in a Cactus League game.

Romano, ranked as the club's No. 9 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, did not disappoint. In his three innings, he allowed one earned run and two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

View Full Game Coverage

"That was a lot of fun," Romano said. "The first inning, I was a little bit nervous, excited just to be out there getting the opportunity. The ball was a little up, but the second and third innings, I felt like I was back to myself. I was able to use all of my pitches."

Romano wanted to work on his two-seam fastball vs. lefty hitters, but he made one mistake to Mike Moustakas in the first inning. Moustakas, the second batter of the game, slugged a solo home run to right-center field.

"A 3-1 fastball to Moustakas, I left a little bit up," Romano said. "That's their job to hit those kinds of pitches. I was able to get him the next time."

Reds manager Bryan Price came away very pleased with Romano's outing.

"I thought he threw as well as he has all spring," Price said. "He had a much better breaking ball and better command of it. After the first inning, he was able to pound that fastball down in the zone with improved command. He's very polished for a young guy that hasn't had a lot of time in this environment. I thought he threw the ball beautifully. He's making a very, very positive impression."

Romano, 23, spent all of the 2016 season at Double-A Pensacola. He has an outside chance for a big league rotation spot or potentially a bullpen spot.

"It's nice to be in the mix of things every four or five days and show them what I can do," Romano said. "As long as I'm still here, I think I have an opportunity."

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, Sal Romano