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Reds not ready to call up top prospect Senzel

Despite opening at 3B, club feels infielder needs more seasoning
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Nick Senzel is the Reds' top prospect, and there is a temporary opening at his natural position of third base while Eugenio Suarez is on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. But for now, Senzel remains at Triple-A Louisville.

The organization believes that Senzel -- ranked as its No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline and the No. 7 prospect in the Majors -- needs more time in the Minors to develop.

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MILWAUKEE -- Nick Senzel is the Reds' top prospect, and there is a temporary opening at his natural position of third base while Eugenio Suarez is on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. But for now, Senzel remains at Triple-A Louisville.

The organization believes that Senzel -- ranked as its No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline and the No. 7 prospect in the Majors -- needs more time in the Minors to develop.

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"The most important thing is to make sure we're all convinced that he is ready to be here and playing productively," Reds general manager Dick Williams said on Monday. "A lot goes into that. It's just making sure his confidence is in the right place and the approach we're seeing is right and he is doing it consistently. Bringing a guy like that up, you want him to come and stay. You want it to be more dictated by his performance and confidence as opposed to being dictated by the situation here."

In 10 games for Louisville, Senzel is batting .233/.283/.349 with one home run and one RBI. It's a slow start, although he did go 6-for-18 in his past four games. Louisville's scheduled game Monday at Buffalo was postponed by snow.

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Reds look to challenge Senzel

Suarez went on the DL April 9, and the Reds promoted Alex Blandino to take his place on the roster. They have been starting veterans Cliff Pennington and Phil Gosselin at third base with Suarez out. Senzel, who played third base after being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, was given time at shortstop in Spring Training and has mostly played second base for Louisville so he could learn other positions with Suarez a fixture at the hot corner following his recently signed seven-year, $66 million contract.

"We asked a lot of [Senzel] by having him play a lot of shortstop in spring," Williams said. "Then he went to Triple-A and played second base every day. The injury happened [to Suarez], and Blandino had been playing third and performed the year before at Triple-A and was performing well in the spring. It was a more natural move for him to come up. He was playing there every day at the time."

It also has been speculated that the Reds were holding off on promoting Senzel for service-time reasons. Teams that keep prospects in the Minors for at least the first 13 games of the season could get an extra year of club control before arbitration and, eventually, free agency. That time has now passed, however.

"It hasn't been in our decision," Williams said. "All we've talked about is whether we feel it's the right time and right situation to bring [Senzel] into, and if he's accomplished the right things. We want him to be more than ready when he gets here, if that's at all possible."

Keep track of Reds Minor Leaguers this year with our Minor League tracking tool.

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

Gallardo DFA'd, right-hander Rainey called up

Special to MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Despite a strong Spring Training, right-handed reliever Tanner Rainey was left off the Reds' 2018 Opening Day roster. He didn't have to wait long for a welcomed conversation, though.

The Reds selected the contract of Rainey from Triple-A Louisville and designated right-hander Yovani Gallardo for assignment on Tuesday. Rainey made his Major League debut during Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Phillies, working one inning, allowing four earned runs on two hits, one of which was a grand slam off the bat of Scott Kingery. In the outing, he recorded his first two big league strikeouts. 

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PHILADELPHIA -- Despite a strong Spring Training, right-handed reliever Tanner Rainey was left off the Reds' 2018 Opening Day roster. He didn't have to wait long for a welcomed conversation, though.

The Reds selected the contract of Rainey from Triple-A Louisville and designated right-hander Yovani Gallardo for assignment on Tuesday. Rainey made his Major League debut during Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Phillies, working one inning, allowing four earned runs on two hits, one of which was a grand slam off the bat of Scott Kingery. In the outing, he recorded his first two big league strikeouts. 

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"It didn't really cross my mind," Rainey said about the possibility of being called up before he got the news. "It was indescribable. There are no words for that feeling."

The No. 29-ranked Reds prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Rainey has made two hitless relief appearances for Louisville this year, striking out five and walking one in two innings. He posted a 3.19 ERA in 62 innings in the Minors last season.

Rainey impressed the Reds throughout the spring. The 25-year-old had a 2.16 ERA, a .167 batting average against and 13 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings during seven Spring Training appearances.

"That was my idea coming into spring," Rainey said. "I didn't necessarily try to do too much, but I wanted to show them what I could do and give them a reason to get me here."

Rainey, who was not on the Reds' 40-man roster, received word of the promotion on Monday night. He was on a flight from Louisville to Philadelphia early on Tuesday morning and was available to pitch against the Phillies on Tuesday night.

"It's a big arm. It's a 95- to 98-mile per hour fastball with a hard slider and a changeup," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's a pretty polished guy. We're going to get him acclimated to the bullpen and get him in there."

Gallardo, 32, was signed as a free agent on March 30 and made three relief appearances for the Reds, allowing eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. He is 113-93 with a 3.97 ERA in 301 appearances (289 starts) over 12 big league seasons, eight of them with the Brewers. He was a National League All-Star in 2010, when he went 14-7 for Milwaukee.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com.

Cincinnati Reds, Yovani Gallardo, Tanner Rainey

Reds' Hunter Greene hits 100 mph in Class A debut

Club's No. 2 prospect records all but one out by K in first 2018 start
MLB.com

DAYTON, Ohio -- Hunter Greene knew he had a pitch limit for his 2018 debut here on Monday night, somewhere in the 40-to-60 range. So when the Reds' top pick in the 2017 Draft had runners on second and third and no one out in the third inning, he knew he had to find an extra gear to finish the inning and his outing against the Lake County Captains (Indians) on a high note.

• Cincinnati Reds prospect stats

DAYTON, Ohio -- Hunter Greene knew he had a pitch limit for his 2018 debut here on Monday night, somewhere in the 40-to-60 range. So when the Reds' top pick in the 2017 Draft had runners on second and third and no one out in the third inning, he knew he had to find an extra gear to finish the inning and his outing against the Lake County Captains (Indians) on a high note.

• Cincinnati Reds prospect stats

The No. 21 prospect on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list and No. 2 on the Reds' Top 30 list, Greene did just that. He struck out the next three hitters to leave those two runners stranded, getting center fielder Todd Isaacs, Indians' No. 7 prospect Will Benson and left fielder Austin Wade to wave at three breaking balls, pumping his fist after the Benson and Wade K's to punctuate a three-inning, two-run, eight-strikeout season debut.

Tweet from @JonathanMayo: With runners on 2nd and 3rd and none out, Greene bears down and K's the side, all on breaking balls. This one finished the inning. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/fgRkKmBeZr

"I knew I was done after that inning, so I knew I could show it a little bit more," Greene said about the emotion he displayed on the mound. "I live for situations like that, where you get in a jam and you have to just bear down. That's when you really become a pitcher. That's when you really show you know how to throw in certain counts, your pitches are ready, every single pitch in the arsenal. My team was fired up, too. That was a great situation to get out of."

The No. 2 pick in last June's Draft did get touched for two runs on five hits, but Greene also struck out the side in the first and third innings, punching out two in the second. He threw 35 of his 53 pitches for strikes without issuing a walk. The first three pitches out of Greene's hand were 100 mph, and his fastball was 96-100 mph for all three innings. His very effective slider was consistently in the 85-89 mph range.

Tweet from @JonathanMayo: Greene's FB had much better movement in 2nd inn. Exhibit A: K on 98 mph heat down in zone for 2nd out pic.twitter.com/OEPXVVcVFg

Greene's fastball was a little straight in that first frame as No. 18 Indians prospect Oscar Gonzalez singled solidly up the middle after leadoff hitter Jorma Rodriguez was frozen on a breaking ball. Greene caught Isaacs looking with a 100-mph fastball, but Benson turned around 98-mph heat with a hard single and Wade drove in two runs with a double the other way. The 18-year-old righty escaped further damage by fanning shortstop Tyler Friis on another 98-mph fastball.

Tweet from @JonathanMayo: #Indians prospect Will Benson squared up this Greene 98-mph FB pretty well. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/VZGMZwG4LF

Greene made some adjustments in his second inning of work, showing a fastball with a lot more life. He got first baseman Ulysses Cantu on a weak groundout to first, struck out catcher Michael Rivera on a 98-mph fastball down in the zone, then whiffed third baseman Dillon Persinger on an 87-mph slider to end the frame. Greene's breaking ball was his go-to out pitch throughout the night.

"Everybody is sitting dead-red fastball, they're bringing their A game when they come out," Greene said. "To pick the right count to throw the secondary pitches is important. I was able to do that a little bit in the last inning and make an adjustment.

"For sure. It happens, but to be able to bounce back, show your maturity and your competitiveness is what I was trying to do," Greene added. "I had a good team behind me to defend and come back with some runs."

Tweet from @JonathanMayo: 1-2-3 2nd for Hunter Greene. 2 more Ks, finishing w this 3-2 breaking ball. 97-99 mph w the FB pic.twitter.com/ZgriJAK4hu

Greene left with the score tied at 2, a game Dayton eventually won. Heading into his first start, there was concern over how the Southern California native would deal with the temperature, which sat at a frigid 39 degrees at the start of the game. He was not fazed by it, showing surprisingly good feel for his breaking stuff.

"It actually wasn't bad," Greene said. "I had some great layers underneath. I had a little heat warmer in my back pocket and we had a rocket flame thing in the dugout. I was warm and ready to go."

Video: Hunter Greene an exciting prospect for the Reds

Greene, a two-way standout at Notre Dame High School in Southern California, threw just 4 1/3 innings last summer during his debut and also got 30 at-bats as a designated hitter after signing for $7.23 million. Focusing on pitching only in 2018, the plan is for Greene to continue to stretch himself out slowly in his first full season of pro ball as he continues his learning process on the mound.

"I think I'm going to stay around there for a little bit, continue to build up and take it step by step, take it slow and make sure I'm healthy and ready to compete," Greene said about his pitch count. "I still have a lot to work on, from continuing to pound the zone, focusing on lefties more, knowing how to get them out more. I'm a lot more comfortable with the righty, but understanding how to get the lefty out so I'm just as comfortable with that."

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Where Reds' Top 30 prospects are starting season

MLB.com

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Reds' Top 30 prospects are projected to start the season:

1. Nick Senzel (MLB No. 7), 3B -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
2. Hunter Greene (MLB No. 21), RHP -- Dayton Dragons (A)
3. Taylor Trammell (MLB No. 43), OF -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
4. Tyler Mahle (MLB No. 84), RHP -- Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
5. Antonio Santillan, RHP -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
6. Shed Long, 2B -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
7. Jeter Downs, SS -- Dayton Dragons (A)
8. Jose Siri, OF -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA) - DL
9. Tyler Stephenson, C -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
10. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
11. Stuart Fairchild, OF -- Dayton Dragons (A)
12. Jose Israel Garcia, SS -- Dayton Dragons (A)
13. Aristides Aquino, OF -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
14. Jimmy Herget, RHP -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
15. TJ Friedl, OF -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
16. Alfredo Rodriguez, SS -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
17. Jacob Heatherly, LHP -- Extended spring training
18. Alex Blandino, 2B/SS -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
19. Chris Okey, C -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv) - DL
20. Nick Longhi, 1B/OF -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
21. Keury Mella, RHP -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
22. Phil Ervin, OF -- Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
23. Scott Moss, LHP -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
24. Rookie Davis, RHP -- Cincinnati Reds (MLB) - DL
25. Gavin LaValley, 1B/3B -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
26. Jose Lopez, RHP -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
27. Nick Hanson, RHP -- Extended spring training
28. Blake Trahan, SS -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
29. Tanner Rainey, RHP -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
30. Miles Gordon, OF -- Dayton Dragons (A)

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Reds' Top 30 prospects are projected to start the season:

1. Nick Senzel (MLB No. 7), 3B -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
2. Hunter Greene (MLB No. 21), RHP -- Dayton Dragons (A)
3. Taylor Trammell (MLB No. 43), OF -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
4. Tyler Mahle (MLB No. 84), RHP -- Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
5. Antonio Santillan, RHP -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
6. Shed Long, 2B -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
7. Jeter Downs, SS -- Dayton Dragons (A)
8. Jose Siri, OF -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA) - DL
9. Tyler Stephenson, C -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
10. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
11. Stuart Fairchild, OF -- Dayton Dragons (A)
12. Jose Israel Garcia, SS -- Dayton Dragons (A)
13. Aristides Aquino, OF -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
14. Jimmy Herget, RHP -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
15. TJ Friedl, OF -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
16. Alfredo Rodriguez, SS -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
17. Jacob Heatherly, LHP -- Extended spring training
18. Alex Blandino, 2B/SS -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
19. Chris Okey, C -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv) - DL
20. Nick Longhi, 1B/OF -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
21. Keury Mella, RHP -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
22. Phil Ervin, OF -- Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
23. Scott Moss, LHP -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
24. Rookie Davis, RHP -- Cincinnati Reds (MLB) - DL
25. Gavin LaValley, 1B/3B -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
26. Jose Lopez, RHP -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
27. Nick Hanson, RHP -- Extended spring training
28. Blake Trahan, SS -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
29. Tanner Rainey, RHP -- Louisville Bats (AAA)
30. Miles Gordon, OF -- Dayton Dragons (A)

Reds prospect coverage | Reds Top 30 prospects stats

Team to watch
While top prospect Nick Senzel goes to Triple-A Louisville and No. 2 prospect Hunter Greene begins his first full season with Class A Dayton, there is a critical mass of prospects who will head to Double-A Pensacola to start the 2018 season. The Blue Wahoos roster will have eight of the Reds' Top 30 on it, starting with No. 6 prospect Shed Long. Outfielders Jose Siri (No. 8) and Aristides Aquino (No. 13), along with right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (No. 10), gives Pensacola a total of four prospects in the Top 15.

Where baseball's top prospects are starting the 2018 season

Teams on MiLB.TV
Louisville Bats
Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Dayton Dragons

New faces
The Reds officially signed infielder Jose Israel Garcia in June of last year. The Cuban, who will be 20 for all of the 2018 season, has yet to play an official game for the organization. That will change as he breaks camp with the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League. A second baseman for the Cuban junior national team, he should get a very long look at shortstop as a pro.

On the shelf
No. 19 prospect Chris Okey tried to play through left hand and wrist injuries in 2017, leading to a disastrous first full season. He'll have to wait a while longer to try and erase that as the other wrist is keeping him from starting the year on an active roster. He's expected to be ready to go in a few weeks.

A year ago, Rookie Davis (No. 24) was a surprise winner of a big league rotation spot. That didn't go so well, and it turned out a hip issue required surgery. The Reds are optimistic that now that it's been fixed, Davis will return to form, though it will likely be midseason before he's ready to compete on the mound again.

No. 8 prospect Jose Siri will begin the year on Pensacola's disabled list as he works his way back from a thumb injury.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

2-way play? Not yet for Reds prospect Greene

No. 2 overall pick in 2017 Draft will pitch exclusively for now
MLB.com

The Reds aren't quite yet ready to let elite prospect Hunter Greene follow in Shohei Ohtani's 2-way footsteps.

Greene, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 Draft, will stick exclusively to pitching, at least for now. However, Reds senior director of player development Jeff Graupe told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that the team isn't "closing the door on developing him offensively," either.

The Reds aren't quite yet ready to let elite prospect Hunter Greene follow in Shohei Ohtani's 2-way footsteps.

Greene, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 Draft, will stick exclusively to pitching, at least for now. However, Reds senior director of player development Jeff Graupe told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that the team isn't "closing the door on developing him offensively," either.

The Reds' No. 2 prospect, who is also ranked No. 21 among all prospects, will make his season debut with Class A Dayton on Monday against Lake County to take advantage of his strong spring momentum. The 18-year-old consistently hit 97-100 mph with his fastball in the Cactus League, showing why he's already so highly regarded on the mound.

"He was fantastic," Graupe said. "Beyond just the fastball, his command really improved. I thought he did a great job on improving his slider, and his feel for his changeup took off as well. He was throwing as well in Spring Training as we could have hoped."

Video: Top Prospects: Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds

In the Pioneer League last year, Greene batted .233 (7-for-30) with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs in seven games as a designated hitter for the Billings Mustangs. On the mound, he logged 4 1/3 innings over three starts, giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits and a walk while striking out six.

Greene pitched just 28 innings as a senior at Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) High School and 121 over four years in his prep career, so he'll have his pitch count managed closely this season.

"This year is really all about transitioning to pro ball," Graupe told MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis during Spring Training. "Obviously, we want our guys to go out and perform and learn lessons every day. From my seat, it's all about creating a plan to maximize his value to Cincinnati. The goal is to have him pitch deep into the season and experience the end of the season. Even if he's not pitching, to experience what fatigue is like at the end of the year."

The initial plan was to curb Greene's workload by having him begin the season in extended spring camp in Arizona and join Dayton at some point after April, but that changed after the organization saw him pitch in Spring Training.

"There's an obvious workload limit that will come into place at some point," said Graupe. "It could either be in April or in August at the end."

Greene will be on an overall season-long pitch limit, rather than an innings limit, though the Reds haven't specified the target number.

"There's a range we want to get him to," Graupe said. "What we'll have [Dayton manager] Luis Bolivar and [pitching coach] Seth Etherton doing the whole way is communicating with him, seeing how he's feeling and then aiming at that target."

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

Cincinnati Reds

Prospect Greene to make Class A debut April 9

Finnegan set for simulated game Wednesday; Schebler scratched
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- It was already known that Reds prospect Hunter Greene would pitch at Class A Dayton at some point this season. But the organization has moved up the timetable for Greene's debut.

Reds senior director of player development Jeff Graupe revealed Monday that the 18-year-old Greene was scheduled to pitch the Dragons' fifth game of 2018, which is April 9 vs. Lake County at Fifth Third Field.

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CINCINNATI -- It was already known that Reds prospect Hunter Greene would pitch at Class A Dayton at some point this season. But the organization has moved up the timetable for Greene's debut.

Reds senior director of player development Jeff Graupe revealed Monday that the 18-year-old Greene was scheduled to pitch the Dragons' fifth game of 2018, which is April 9 vs. Lake County at Fifth Third Field.

View Full Game Coverage

"Just looking at what he's accomplished this offseason and what his throwing program looked like to accomplish that, we wanted to get him out under the lights in front of the fans and take advantage of the fact that he's pretty sharp right now," Graupe said.

Greene, who was the second overall pick by the Reds in the 2017 Draft, is ranked as Cincinnati's No. 2 prospect and No. 21 overall by MLB Pipeline. He is able to throw his fastball consistently in the 97-100 mph range, and he has impressed with his consistency on the mound and overall poise and demeanor at a young age.

The initial plan was to curb the right-hander's workload by having him begin the season in extended spring camp in Arizona and join Dayton at some point after April. That was changed after the organization saw Greene pitch in Spring Training and it was determined that it wouldn't be good to stop his momentum and have him restart again during the regular season.

"If the shape of the offseason looked different, we might have gone a different way," Graupe said. "Based on where we are and how he's throwing, it makes more sense to take advantage of his time on the mound now.

"There's an obvious workload limit that will come into place at some point. It could either be in April or in August at the end."

That limit will be determined by the number of pitches Greene throws this season, rather than innings pitched. Graupe did not specify the target number the organization wanted.

"There's a range we want to get him to," Graupe said. "What we'll have [Dayton manager] Luis Bolivar and [pitching coach] Seth Etherton doing the whole way is communicating with him, seeing how he's feeling and then aiming at that target."

The Reds were pleased with how Greene pitched during his first Spring Training in Minor League camp.

"He was fantastic," Graupe said. "Beyond just the fastball, his command really improved. I thought he did a great job on improving his slider, and his feel for his changeup took off as well. He was throwing as well in Spring Training as we could have hoped."

Finnegan back in Cincinnati

Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan, currently on the 10-day disabled list with a left biceps strain, was back in Cincinnati on Monday and played catch in the outfield. Finnegan had stayed behind at Spring Training to pitch in a Minor League game and build up his innings.

"I have a sim game on Wednesday and then I'm good to go," Finnegan said.

If Finnegan has no issues after Wednesday, that could put him on track to pitch April 9 at Philadelphia on normal five days of rest.

Schebler scratched

Reds right fielder Scott Schebler was in manager Bryan Price's original lineup vs. the Cubs on Monday, but he was scratched. Schebler has a right elbow contusion after being hit by a pitch from the Nationals' Sean Doolittle on Sunday.

"We thought it would resolve itself overnight with some treatment and it hadn't," Price said. "I think he's going to be OK."

Schebler spent several moments at first base Sunday in the 6-5 loss trying to shake off the injury and getting looked over by the trainer. He was able to remain in the game.

Adam Duvall replaced Schebler in the lineup and started in left field, while Jesse Winker was moved from left field to right field vs. Chicago.

Gallardo shaky in Reds debut

Right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo, the Reds' newest acquisition, didn't have a stellar debut for the club in Sunday's loss to the Washington. Gallardo, who joined the club on a one-year, $750,000 contract Saturday, gave up two earned runs and three hits in one inning with one walk and one strikeout.

Gallardo entered in the top of the seventh with Cincinnati trailing, 3-1. He gave up a one-out single to Wilmer Difo before Adam Eaton slugged a two-run home run to right field.

"Eaton is on fire and the guy is swinging the bat so well. Really with Difo, I really liked the matchup there in the pitcher's spot," Price said on Monday. "Difo is a much-better right-handed hitter, and him being able to flare that ball into left field got him into a situation where he's facing a pretty dangerous hitter with a man on base."

Gallardo issued a two-out walk to Bryce Harper and allowed a single to Ryan Zimmerman before getting out of the inning.

"He was 89-92 [mph], with a good overhand breaking pitch," Price said. "I think his experience and the ability to provide us with some length will certainly be valuable."

Parade tradition continues

Before Monday's game, the 99th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade was held, albeit four days after Thursday's actual season opener. The change was made because the market couldn't afford to close during the busy Easter shopping week.

Despite temperatures in the 30s, crowds still gathered on the parade route in Over-the-Rhine and downtown Cincinnati. Former Reds pitchers Sam LeCure and Danny Graves were grand marshals, and current Reds pitchers Sal Romano and Cody Reed also rode in a car.

The honorary grand marshals were family members of the late Walter "Superbubz" Herbert, who would have turned 7 years old on Monday. Herbert, who warmed the hearts of Reds players and fans last summer during his battle with cancer, died in October.

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

Reds send impressive Senzel to Minors camp

Team's top prospect will play second base at Triple-A
MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nick Senzel wasn't expected to debut for the Reds on Opening Day, but the club's top prospect demonstrated that he's not far away from being in the Majors. Senzel became the latest cut from the spring roster when he was reassigned to the Minor League camp on Monday.

Ranked No. 1 in the organization and No. 7 overall by MLBPipeline, Senzel is a natural third baseman. But with Eugenio Suarez locked in there, Senzel played the majority of his spring games and workouts at shortstop.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nick Senzel wasn't expected to debut for the Reds on Opening Day, but the club's top prospect demonstrated that he's not far away from being in the Majors. Senzel became the latest cut from the spring roster when he was reassigned to the Minor League camp on Monday.

Ranked No. 1 in the organization and No. 7 overall by MLBPipeline, Senzel is a natural third baseman. But with Eugenio Suarez locked in there, Senzel played the majority of his spring games and workouts at shortstop.

View Full Game Coverage

"He showed the ability to move around the diamond," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Talking with [infield coach] Freddie Benavides, he was really excited about the developments he made at short. I think we already think very highly of him as a third baseman."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Senzel, 22, liked that he was able to spend most of Spring Training in big league camp and considered it to be a great experience overall. He was not surprised by Monday's assignment.

"I knew it was coming. It was just a matter of when it was coming," Senzel said. "It was a great first big league camp. I got to learn a lot. I got to learn some new positions, and I'm excited to finally start to get into a normal routine with playing nine innings and getting geared up to start the season."

When the season begins, Senzel will be at Triple-A Louisville, and he's expected to play second base, a position he did not play at all in spring games.

"We're a good club. There are spots [already filled] that people have proven they can play at a high level," Senzel said. "My job is to fill whatever they need and where they feel they need me to play.

"I just wanted to know where I would play every day in Louisville. I didn't want to be bouncing around, and they didn't want me bouncing around, either. I'll be at second base, and that's what it is."

Senzel did not believe it would be difficult for him to play second base, a position he played as an amateur player but never professionally. During offseason workouts, he got some work at second base.

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Reds look to challenge Senzel

In Spring Training, however, the Reds decided to simplify things and have him focus primarily at shortstop and third base.

"It'll be another transition, but I don't think it'll be as dramatic as the one from third to short," Senzel said. "It'll be a pretty smooth transition."

The Reds currently have Scooter Gennett at second base and Jose Peraza at shortstop. Senzel hasn't been ruled out as a third baseman despite Suarez signing a seven-year, $66 million contract on Friday. General manager Dick Williams felt that both Suarez and Senzel could be multi-position players in the future.

"He's got to be ready to play anyplace but first base if we have an injury or setback," Price said of Senzel.

Senzel batted .286 (8-for-28) in 15 Cactus League games.

"As far as strike-zone discipline, his feel for the game, his instincts on the bases, everything to me was really, really good," Price said. "It was an outstanding effort in everything he does, from his early work to his game prep to his game intensity to how he runs the bases. Nobody here is disappointed at all in any part of his game. Now it's a matter of getting the reps in that he's not going to be able to get here."

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, Nick Senzel

Reds looking for ways to play Suarez, Senzel

Club might have newly signed 3B play short or change top prospect's position
MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The signing of third baseman Eugenio Suarez to a seven-year, $66 million contract extension on Friday almost puts to rest the question about the future of the position with Nick Senzel's arrival on the not-too-distant horizon.

Senzel is the organization's top prospect, according to MLBPipeline, and a third baseman as well. But he's been getting most of his time at Spring Training at shortstop. Suarez used to be a shortstop before switching to third base before the 2016 season. General manager Dick Williams hasn't ruled out Suarez making another position change.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The signing of third baseman Eugenio Suarez to a seven-year, $66 million contract extension on Friday almost puts to rest the question about the future of the position with Nick Senzel's arrival on the not-too-distant horizon.

Senzel is the organization's top prospect, according to MLBPipeline, and a third baseman as well. But he's been getting most of his time at Spring Training at shortstop. Suarez used to be a shortstop before switching to third base before the 2016 season. General manager Dick Williams hasn't ruled out Suarez making another position change.

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"I would say we've made this extension with Suarez, knowing he's an elite third baseman but that he can also play multiple positions," Williams said. "I feel the same way about the future potential of Nick Senzel. I think he's an elite defender that also has the ability to play multiple positions."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Suarez, who is signed through 2024 with a $15 million club option for 2025, has played parts of three games at shortstop over the past two seasons. Before camp opened, the Reds expected to try Senzel at third base, shortstop, second base and the outfield, before deciding to simplify. He's only played on the left side of the infield this spring.

"If we can compile guys like that, very good offensive players with defensive flexibility, that is the player of the future," Williams said.

Camp battle

There is less than two weeks remaining before Opening Day -- on March 29 vs. the Nationals -- and manager Bryan Price has not named a starting rotation. With the injuries of Anthony DeSclafani (left oblique strain) and Brandon Finnegan (left forearm spasm), the two locks are Homer Bailey and Luis Castillo. Price tipped his hand, somewhat, on Friday morning that Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle are closing in on those three spots.

"With the way Romano and Mahle have thrown in camp, they have certainly put themselves in the lead," Price said. "The way that Amir [Garrett] has thrown has created an opportunity to jump in there and jump into the rotation."

Reds Spring Training info | Tickets | Schedule

Romano has a 3.00 ERA in his four Cactus League starts and pitched four innings Friday in a Minor League game, allowing three earned runs, nine hits and one walk while striking out six. Mahle pitched five scoreless innings with two hits against the Indians' frontline lineup during Thursday's 10-6 win, and has a 2.45 ERA in his five games this spring.

Garrett, Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen are still competing for a rotation spot. Lorenzen allowed two runs and three hits over three innings vs. the Brewers on Friday but walked four with one strikeout.

Cody Reed, who was told at the beginning of camp he'd be competing for a bullpen spot, might get a fresh opportunity, when he starts on Saturday vs. the Giants.

Video: CIN@CLE: Mahle discusses his scoreless outing

"I think with the way Romano and Mahle have thrown, they have elevated themselves on the depth chart, for sure," Price said.

Injury report

Second baseman Scooter Gennett was out for a second consecutive day Friday with a sore right shoulder after he was scratched from Thursday's lineup. Gennett did not appear worried that he would be out very long.

"You need to be smart about these kinds of things," Gennett said. "You don't want to start the season not feeling 100 percent. You've got to be smart. In a couple of days, I will be back in there, pain-free."

Gennett wasn't sure how he hurt his shoulder.

"It's not worth an MRI. I passed all of my movement tests," he said. "Right now, it's taking off from throwing and hitting for a day or two and strengthening it and making sure I keep the strength in there while I'm not throwing or hitting."

Kivlehan among latest cuts

The Reds made four more cuts on Friday and they included utility player Patrick Kivlehan, who spent the entire season on the 25-man roster in 2017. Kivlehan, a non-roster player this spring, was re-assigned to the Minor League camp.

Video: CIN@MIL: Kivlehan clubs a towering homer to center

"That was a tough one, the toughest for sure, because I think he's a big league player," Price said. "My feeling is he needs to get some regular playing time because I think he can do a ton of things to help a big league club."

Also re-assigned to the Minor League camp was second baseman Dilson Herrera, catcher Chadwick Tromp and outfielder Darnell Sweeney. Some roster intrigue was reduced on Tuesday, when Herrera, who is out of options, was outrighted off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Louisville. Bailey is the only player in camp out of options.

Up next

Reed will get the ball in the 4:05 p.m. ET game vs. the split-squad Giants on Saturday. It will be a chance to improve his ability to make the 25-man roster in the rotation or bullpen. The game can be heard on an exclusive audio cast.

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, Nick Senzel

Reds prospect Senzel learning ropes at SS

MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Saturday's 5-2 loss against the Mariners marked the sixth Cactus League game, and third start, at shortstop for Nick Senzel, ranked as the Reds' No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline. That doesn't count the time Senzel spent at the once relatively unfamiliar position before Spring Training and during camp workouts.

Senzel played shortstop in high school and sometimes in college. But since he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, he only played third base professionally. With Eugenio Suarez currently locked in at third base for the Reds, Senzel has gotten time at both spots on the left side of the infield.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Saturday's 5-2 loss against the Mariners marked the sixth Cactus League game, and third start, at shortstop for Nick Senzel, ranked as the Reds' No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline. That doesn't count the time Senzel spent at the once relatively unfamiliar position before Spring Training and during camp workouts.

Senzel played shortstop in high school and sometimes in college. But since he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, he only played third base professionally. With Eugenio Suarez currently locked in at third base for the Reds, Senzel has gotten time at both spots on the left side of the infield.

View Full Game Coverage

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

"He's working hard," first base/infield coach Freddie Benavides said. "It's not something that's just going to happen overnight. Being a Major League shortstop is something that guys have been doing since they were young. There are still a lot of things involved with the footwork, places he needs to be. But from day one to where he is now, there's been lots of improvement."

Benavides has been pleased about how Senzel has been willing to learn on the job.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Very coachable," Benavides said. "He's a sponge."

Senzel, 22, has worked with both Benavides and Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin this spring. Because the position requires more infield responsibility and movement, it's been tougher to make the shift from third base to shortstop than it would have been if Senzel started out as a pro shortstop and moved to third base like Suarez did a couple of years ago.

However, Senzel felt like he's getting the hang of the position and has enjoyed the opportunity.

"I feel like it's good. Every day is getting better. I will continue to keep working," said Senzel, who is ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Video: SEA@CIN: Price on Senzel's future role with the Reds

Against Seattle, Senzel displayed some acumen on a tough ground ball up the middle, robbing Taylor Motter of a hit in the third inning. Senzel went to his left and fielded the bouncing ball behind second base and threw to first while on the move for the out.

Before Spring Training, the Reds initially planned to expose to Senzel to up to five positions in camp -- third base, shortstop, second base and both corner-outfield spots. That didn't materialize, however.

"You can't do that. The game's not that easy to take a young man that's primarily been third base and move him all over the field," manager Bryan Price said. "We've primarily kept him on the left side of the infield."

Senzel has also played three games at third base, including two starts. He's committed one fielding error this spring at shortstop and one throwing error at third base.

Video: SEA@CIN: Don Long on Senzel's approach at the plate

"No matter what he does at shortstop here or during the season if he stays there, it will always help him if he has to go back to third base," Benavides said. "It's helping his footwork and his hands tremendously."

The expectation has been that Senzel would likely begin the regular season at Triple-A Louisville. That's partially because of not wanting to start the service-time clock and buying an extra season of club control before free agency. Also, there isn't an open spot in the lineup.

Jose Peraza is opening 2018 as the Reds' starting shortstop and will get the chance to prove himself. Price said the decision of where Senzel would play in the Minors would be a group determination among himself, general manager Dick Williams and player development director Jeff Graupe.

"I think inevitably where the need is where he'll find the most work. That's yet to be defined completely," Price said.

Senzel felt, if need be, he could step up and play shortstop in the Major Leagues right now.

"I'm just learning the position. We've taken a lot of reps and I'm starting to get a lot more comfortable," Senzel said. "Especially the in-game reps, it's helped out a ton. The more reps I get, the more comfortable I feel out there."

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, Nick Senzel

Pipeline report: Reds camp

MLB.com

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the upcoming season. Some compete for jobs in big league camp, while others vie for spots on Minor League affiliates. MLB Pipeline will visit all 30 camps this spring, and today we check in on the Reds.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds have been mostly an afterthought in the National League Central for the past four years. They haven't won more than 76 games in a season and haven't come closer than 12 games to a Wild Card berth.

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the upcoming season. Some compete for jobs in big league camp, while others vie for spots on Minor League affiliates. MLB Pipeline will visit all 30 camps this spring, and today we check in on the Reds.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds have been mostly an afterthought in the National League Central for the past four years. They haven't won more than 76 games in a season and haven't come closer than 12 games to a Wild Card berth.

Meanwhile, the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates all have made multiple postseason appearances and the Brewers vaulted back into contention in 2017, missing the playoffs by just one game. But Cincinnati is getting closer to relevance.

Reds Top 30 Prospects list | Q&A with Taylor Trammell

:: MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports ::

The Reds have graduated a slew of young pitchers to Great American Ball Park during the last two seasons, most notably Luis Castillo and Amir Garrett, and the farm system is just getting started. Farm director Jeff Graupe says Cincinnati has more talent in the Minor Leagues than it has at any time since he joined the organization as a baseball operations assistant in 2006.

"I think for where they are, we're deeper than we've ever been," Graupe said. "It's tough when you look at what Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce turned out to be. But at the same time, if you compare guys when they were in the Minor Leagues, it's comparable and we have more depth now."

No. 8 in MLB Pipeline's latest system talent rankings, the Reds have one of the best hitter/pitcher prospect combos around in third baseman Nick Senzel and right-hander Hunter Greene, their last two first-round selections. Outfielder Taylor Trammell also has an ultra-high ceiling, while outfielder Jesse Winker and righty Tyler Mahle are ready for full-time duty after getting callups in 2017.

There also are plenty of additional talents up the middle, including second baseman Shed Long, shortstop Jeter Downs, center fielders Jose Siri and Stuart Fairchild, catcher Tyler Stephenson. Tony Santillan and Vladimir Gutierrez give the Reds two more power righties behind Greene.

As exciting as all the depth, and what it could mean for Cincinnati's future, may be, the upside of Senzel and Greene could be more impressive. And that presents some development challenges for 2018.

Senzel is better than expected, which is saying something considering that he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft. He has solid or better tools across the board, and after hitting .313/.393/.514 in his two years as a pro, there's not much left for him to prove except maybe to get some Triple-A experience for experience's sake.

But Eugenio Suarez hit 26 homers while manning the hot corner for the Reds last year, so Senzel will indeed head to Triple-A to start the season. To keep things interesting, he'll play some shortstop to see if that might be a realistic option. He played there briefly in college at Tennessee.

"The bat is his carrying tool, but it's really, really easy to lose how good an athlete he is," Graupe said. "He's a plus runner with a plus arm, a very good defender. He's a really well-rounded player. He's a lot of fun to watch. He's super-driven and task-oriented, and that's kind of why we're testing out shortstop.

"You're looking for obstacles to put in front of these guys to see how they react. We're looking to create a moment of adversity so they can grow. Nick has really matched or exceeded every expectation, so we're going to have him climb the defensive spectrum and see how he does at shortstop. Every time we've created a growth opportunity for him, he has performed."

Video: Senzel, Mahle on what they are working on in camp

With Greene, the No. 2 overall choice last year, the Reds must walk a fine line between keeping him engaged, while not putting too much on his plate. He may generate 100-mph fastballs more easily than any teenaged pitcher ever has, but he also was handled extremely carefully as an amateur. He pitched just 28 innings as a high school senior and 121 in four years as a prepster, so he's probably going to get more down time in 2018 than he would like.

"This year is really all about transitioning to pro ball," Graupe said. "Obviously, we want our guys to go out and perform and learn lessons every day. From my seat, it's all about creating a plan to maximize his value to Cincinnati. The goal is to have him pitch deep into the season and experience the end of the season. Even if he's not pitching, to experience what fatigue is like at the end of the year."

Camp standouts

Brandon Dixon may not have made MLB Pipeline's Reds Top 30 Prospects list, but he was the talk of Cincinnati's big league camp in the early going. He led the Reds with three homers and seven RBIs after nine games while playing all four infield and outfield corners. Acquired along with Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler from the Dodgers in the December 2015 trade that sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox, Dixon has hit 16 homers in each of his two seasons in the organization and has the pop and versatility to perhaps earn a bench role.

Though position players aren't scheduled to arrive to Cincinnati's Minor League Spring Training until Tuesday, 19 of them came to Goodyear in January for a strength camp. Graupe said the Reds have been very pleased with what they've seen from Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia, who signed for $5 million last June and will make his pro debut this year.

"He's really embraced the weight room and all of the cultural assimilation things you have to focus on with first-year Cubans," Graupe said. "He's really taken to that, which should free him up to do the physical things he'll need to get ready for the season, rather than throw it all on him at once. He's put on 15 pounds. He's a very good athlete."

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds' farm features high-end talent, depth

MLB.com

Last time we checked in on the Reds' farm system, they were in full-on rebuild mode. How's that going so far?

MLB's Top 10 farm systems | Reds Top 30 Prospects list

Last time we checked in on the Reds' farm system, they were in full-on rebuild mode. How's that going so far?

MLB's Top 10 farm systems | Reds Top 30 Prospects list

In most ways, it's gone according to plan. The Reds still have one of the top 10 farm systems in baseball, coming in at No. 8 on this year's list. There's some serious high-end talent coming, with five landing on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, and there is a good amount of depth up and down the Reds' new Top 30.

:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::

It all starts, of course, with the guy at the top, Nick Senzel. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft has been even better than advertised, if that's possible. He's shown all five tools and has proven to be athletic enough to at least get a look at shortstop this spring. There's a reason why he's in the top 10 overall and could be the first elite-level impact player to hit Cincinnati since the overhaul began in 2015.

Reds fans will have to wait longer for last year's No. 2 overall pick, Hunter Greene, to get to the big leagues. But he has as much ceiling as perhaps any pitching prospect in baseball and the Senzel-Greene combination belongs in any conversation with top hitting-pitching prospect duos in baseball (with a nod to the White Sox tandem of Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech).

:: Top 10 Farm Systems ::

There are other high-ceiling players like Taylor Trammell (No. 43 on the Top 100) and Jose Siri, and there are guys who touched the big leagues last year who should contribute on a larger level this season, like Jesse Winker and Tyler Mahle. The trio of Senzel, Greene and Trammell ranks higher than any the Reds have had since Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey and Joey Votto were Nos. 1, 9 and 34 on our 2008 list.

And that's just the top 10. There are role players and relievers up and down the top 30 who will help the Reds win more games now, with prospects with more impact potential on the way. That's been especially helped by the organization's aggressive efforts on the international market, bringing in a number of Cuban players -- Vladimir Gutierrez, Jose Israel Garcia and Alfredo Rodriguez -- who dot the Top 30 this year.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.

Jump: Jose Siri, OF (2017: NR | 2018: 9)
Fall: Nick Travieso, RHP (2017: 21 | 2018: NR)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 70 -- Nick Senzel
Power: 55 -- Senzel (Aristides Aquino)
Run: 70 -- Jose Siri (Taylor Trammell, TJ Friedl)
Arm: 70 -- Aquino
Defense: 65 -- Alfredo Rodriguez
Fastball: 80 -- Hunter Greene
Curveball: 60 -- Vladimir Gutierrez
Slider: 60 - Tanner Rainey
Changeup: 55 -- Tony Santillan
Control: 60 -- Tyler Mahle

How they were built
Draft: 21
International: 5
Trade: 3
Free agent: 1

Breakdown by ETA
2018: 11
2019: 8
2020: 7
2021: 4

Breakdown by position
C: 2
1B: 2
2B: 2
3B: 1
SS: 4
OF: 7
RHP: 10
LHP: 2

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Cincinnati Reds