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Reds stick with heavy bullpen, four-man bench

Club has eight relievers to help out rotation; injury updates on DeSclafani, Lorenzen
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- Even after the Reds returned from a series at an American League ballpark (in Minneapolis) last week where the designated hitter was used, they elected not to add to their bench after returning home, where the pitcher hits and thus more pinch-hitters are needed.

A four-man bench and eight-man bullpen remains in place, and interim manager Jim Riggleman did not believe that would imminently change. It leaves him a little shorthanded for in-game moves.

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CINCINNATI -- Even after the Reds returned from a series at an American League ballpark (in Minneapolis) last week where the designated hitter was used, they elected not to add to their bench after returning home, where the pitcher hits and thus more pinch-hitters are needed.

A four-man bench and eight-man bullpen remains in place, and interim manager Jim Riggleman did not believe that would imminently change. It leaves him a little shorthanded for in-game moves.

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"It's just different," Riggleman said on Wednesday. "You just have to maybe not pinch-hit somewhere you might have. You're at a point in the game where you can't afford to be short two innings later when that spot comes up again. It's comforting to know you've got that many arms out there. Also, we're not comfortable because one of your four [on the bench] is going to be your other catcher. You really don't want to use him until very late. Ideally, we'd get back to five guys on the bench."

When considering second baseman Scooter Gennett, who has been available only to pinch-hit this week but not play defense because of right shoulder inflammation, the bench options get even shorter.

Cincinnati's starting rotation, ranked last in the Majors in ERA entering Wednesday, is ranked 11th of 15 National League clubs in innings pitched. But the deep starts haven't been coming of late. In six of the previous seven games, only Tyler Mahle worked beyond five innings.

Naturally, that has Reds relievers ranked fourth in the NL in innings pitched, and many have been pressed to work multiple innings. Dylan Floro pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings vs. the Brewers on Tuesday after pitching two scoreless innings vs. the Twins on Saturday. Kevin Shackelford pitched a career-high 2 2/3 innings on Friday. And in a 12-inning win on April 22 vs. the Braves, Jared Hughes delivered 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Video: CIN@STL: Floro rings up Molina looking in the 5th

"We don't want to do that with Hughes or [David] Hernandez a lot," Riggleman said.

DeSclafani, Lorenzen progressing

Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who is on the 60-day disabled list due to a strained left oblique, is scheduled to pitch in his first game Friday. DeSclafani will start an extended spring game in Arizona and is slated to throw 30-35 pitches over two innings. He is not eligible for activation until May 28.

Meanwhile, reliever Michael Lorenzen, who has been out since mid-March with a right teres major muscle strain near his shoulder, has had two bullpen sessions in Arizona. He is scheduled for his next bullpen session, roughly 25 pitches, on Friday.

"Lorenzen threw [Tuesday], and everything went fine. He had a significant bullpen session," Riggleman said.

Lorenzen is expected to return to the Reds toward the end of this month. However, he must get through simulated games and a Minor League rehab assignment before he would be activated. Once he is available to the Reds, they want him to be ready for a workload similar to others already on the staff.

"We want to get him stretched out to where he's not throwing just one [inning]," Riggleman said. "We don't want to get him here until he's able to throw a significant amount."

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.

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