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Reds rotation to remain fluid down the stretch

Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- What will the Reds' rotation look like during the final month of the regular season?

It could depend on the day.

CINCINNATI -- What will the Reds' rotation look like during the final month of the regular season?

It could depend on the day.

Manager Bryan Price said Sunday a six-man rotation is an option he would mull over. The Reds have already had a look at some of the best young arms in their system and may want to look at a few more during the final month of the season.

"[A six-man rotation] is something we may consider periodically in September," Price said.

The Cincinnati rotation currently consists of Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson and Tyler Mahle, the latter of whom was promoted from Triple-A Louisville to start Sunday against Pittsburgh. Asher Wojciechowski (3-3, 6.17 ERA), who had made eight starts, was bumped from the rotation to make room for Mahle.

That's six pitchers. Tim Adleman (5-10, 5.42), bumped from the rotation earlier to make room for Wojciechowski, also made 20 starts this season.

That's seven pitchers ... but there are complications.

Castillo has worked 157 2/3 innings after throwing 131 2/3 in 2016. Mahle entered Sunday having thrown 144 1/3 innings, compared with 150 2/3 last year. Many Major League teams are reluctant to increase a young pitcher's total innings by more than 20 to 30 per season.

"We do have young guys who are going to run out of the innings, which may necessitate we add pitchers from our farm system," Price said.

The Reds gave opportunties to several youngsters, but some did not exactly seize the chance. Among those who started at least once are Amir Garrett (3-6, 7.41), Rookie Davis (1-2, 7.58), Lisalverto Bonilla (1-3, 8.10 and currently injured), Cody Reed (1-1, 6.43) and Jackson Stephens (1-0, 5.40).

The schedule will also affect that decision. Cincinnati on Tuesday will begin a stretch of 13 consecutive games without an off-day. The Reds will then have six games followed by an off-day for the rest of the season.

Notable
To make room for Mahle, the Reds optioned RHP Luke Farrell to Triple-A Louisville and transferred RHP Scott Feldman to the 60-day disabled list. Feldman had right knee surgery and is out for the remainder of the season. Farrell made one appearance with Cincinnati, throwing three scoreless innings of relief.

Mahle and catcher Chad Walllach made their Major League debuts Sunday. That had not happened in Reds history until April 6 in Philadelphia, when Davis and catcher Stuart Turner made their debuts. Before this season, the most recent occurance of the all-newcomer battery was by the 2008 Washington Nationals (Shairon Martis and Luke Montz).

Bailey, who left Tuesday's start with irritation in the back of his right shoulder, threw a bullpen session Sunday. He is expected to throw another before returning to the rotation Wednesday against the New York Mets.

Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Reds