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Romano set to face Rockies on Thursday

Enjoying solid season at Triple-A, right-hander will make second big league start
MLB.com @m_sheldon

DENVER -- The Reds have given several young starting pitchers an opportunity to crack the rotation this season. To fill a vacancy on Thursday vs. the Rockies, Cincinnati will turn to a rookie who got one of the first chances -- right-hander Sal Romano, who will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

Romano, the Reds' No. 7 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, is 1-3 with a 3.06 ERA in nine starts for Louisville during a 2017 season where he missed over a month with a shoulder injury. His last two starts have been particularly pleasing for the organization, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits over eight impressive innings on June 29.

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DENVER -- The Reds have given several young starting pitchers an opportunity to crack the rotation this season. To fill a vacancy on Thursday vs. the Rockies, Cincinnati will turn to a rookie who got one of the first chances -- right-hander Sal Romano, who will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

Romano, the Reds' No. 7 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, is 1-3 with a 3.06 ERA in nine starts for Louisville during a 2017 season where he missed over a month with a shoulder injury. His last two starts have been particularly pleasing for the organization, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits over eight impressive innings on June 29.

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"His last start was a complete game at 89 pitches with 15 ground-ball outs. It made sense to do it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I was really anxious to get him back after that first start. He didn't have great success in his first start in Cincinnati, but leaving Spring Training, I fully anticipated that we would see him at some point in time in the year."

On April 16, in a 4-2 loss vs. the Brewers during his big league debut, Romano, 23, lasted three innings and allowed three runs (two earned). He struggled with command, throwing 82 pitches with more balls (43) than strikes (39) and walking four.

Video: MIL@CIN: Romano on making his Major League debut

Romano's fastball was also at a higher velocity than usual -- 97-98 mph -- as he was overexcited.

"It's the youth. You never know what you're going to get," Price said. "With all these guys, they're only going to get better in that department. I would anticipate Sal will be a lot more composed and ready to pitch to his strengths this next time through on Thursday."

Romano is one of 13 different starting pitchers the Reds have used this season. Unlike earlier in the year, the choices for callups are getting harder to make, as Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed and others have shown improvement.

"What I like is we've got everybody on our Triple-A staff is throwing the ball much better, more aggressively in the zone," Price said. "I'm getting some really good reports from [pitching coach] Jeff Fassero and [manager] Delino [DeShields] in regards to the type of quality we're getting."

Worth noting

• Reds shortstop Zack Cozart plans on having 15-20 family members at the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard next week in Miami. Cozart, who is going to the Midsummer Classic for the first time after being voted in to start for the National League by fans, received a lot of congratulatory text messages. He is especially appreciative of those from former coaches.

• Cozart, Votto named Reds' All-Stars

"I had a lot of people that helped me in my baseball career along the way," Cozart said. "There were just a lot of coaches along the way that I look back and I'm like, 'Man, there's something little I take from them that helps me now.' That was a cool thing for me. I don't get to talk to those guys all the time."

Video: STL@CIN: Cozart extends on-base streak to 29

• The Reds traded utility player Tony Renda to the D-backs Monday for a player to be named or cash. Renda had been with Louisville all season.

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