Roark to get start in place of injured Gray

Bell set to make managing debut, posts first lineup

February 22nd, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starting pitcher Tanner Roark was already scheduled to pitch the second inning in Saturday’s Cactus League opener vs. the Indians. But now Roark is moving up to start the game after Sonny Gray was scratched with right elbow stiffness.

First pitch is slated for 3:05 p.m. ET at Goodyear Ballpark. This will be Roark’s debut in a Cincinnati uniform after he was acquired from the Nationals in a December trade for reliever Tanner Rainey.

“I’m anxious to face a good lineup and get out there and see live hitters,” Roark said. “I feel good, the body feels good and that’s the main thing right now. My mechanics feel great. Everything is coming together.”

Roark, 32, went 9-15 for Washington last season, with 146 strikeouts in 180 1/3 innings to be worth 3 Wins Above Replacement. However, he was much stronger in the second half as he was 6-3 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts after the All-Star break.

A right-handed sinker-ball pitcher, Roark plans to use all of his pitches when he faces Cleveland. Some starters prefer to keep it simple in their first game and stick with fastballs and changeups.

“I prepared myself to be ready to throw everything right away,” Roark said. “There’s not going to be a bunch of offspeed. Not just yet, but I know I have it in my repertoire.”

First game for Bell, also

Among the debuts, Saturday will mark new manager David Bell’s first time getting to run things from the Reds dugout. Bell was ready to make the shift from just workouts into game action.

“I know it’s Spring Training, but it’s what it’s all about,” said Bell, who was hired in October. “You get a little extra adrenaline. I think everyone is in this situation but with the weather, it’s sneaking up on us a bit. But we’re maximizing our days -- yesterday and today -- even with the weather. We’ll be extra aware during the game to not push guys knowing there hasn’t been a lot of days between when we started and Game 1.”

Rain on Thursday and Friday has forced the Reds to hold curtailed workouts indoors.

One of the many returning players, second baseman Scooter Gennett was also eager to get into some games.

“This is the fun part for us,” Gennett said. “It’s seeing our practice transfer over to the game. It’s fun for us to get out there in front of the fans and playing. That’s why we’re all here.”

Gennett is not playing in the first game as Bell posted his first lineup of spring.

1. Tucker Barnhart, C

2. Joey Votto, 1B

3. Matt Kemp, LF

4. Eugenio Suarez, 3B

5. Yasiel Puig, RF

6. Phillip Ervin, DH

7. Jose Siri, CF

8. Blake Trahan, SS

9. Christian Colon, 2B

“There's a lot of factors where we'll be with the lineup based on trying to get guys out of the game earlier, especially Day 1,” Bell said. “There will be other thoughts put into it, but it won't mean as much as it will later in spring.”

Catching some zzzzzz’s

As part of the Reds clubhouse’s daily morning meeting, a sleep expert was brought in to speak to the players and coaches for the second straight year. On occasion during the offseason, Bell has noted he plans to take players’ rest seriously, and it might affect pregame planning during the regular season.

“As we all know, it's really important, especially with any kind of education to take any pointers away with what can help us sleep better with our schedule, with the travel, it can be very challenging,” Bell said.

During his playing days, Bell personally experienced trouble with sleeping.

“I know it affected my career,” he said. “Just from a lack of sleep where it just compounds, and it affects everything we do and everyone in any walk of life understands.

“More than anything, [we can] be reminded how important it is and prioritize that. It goes a long way in keeping you healthy. It helps your performance.”