Iglesias pleased with short spring debut

Reds righty gives up one run in one inning, likely destined for back of rotation

March 14th, 2016

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The debut was brief and not entirely clean, but Reds starter Raisel Iglesias got his first spring start behind him as he works toward being ready for the season.

In his one inning against the Angels in a 10-2 loss, Iglesias gave up one run and two hits and struck out one. He began Spring Training behind other pitchers as he worked in the offseason on a shoulder flexibility program.

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On his first pitch, Iglesias gave up a lined single to center field to Cliff Pennington. Daniel Nava followed with a single to right-center field just out of the reach of diving right fielder Jay Bruce.

"I felt really good today," Iglesias said via translator Tomas Vera. "I tried to jump in real quick to the game plan with what I was doing, but you saw what hitters did with me, so I had to make the adjustment. And after I made that adjustment, things went really well."

Pennington scored when Andrelton Simmons grounded to shortstop for a double play. Iglesias struck out C.J. Cron on a slider to end the inning and his brief afternoon of pitching.

Iglesias, 26, is expected to get five spring starts and is likely to be in the back of the rotation, which allows more time to prepare.

"I think there will be enough time for me to be ready," Iglesias said. "I feel I will be OK for the season."

During his rookie season in 2015, Iglesias was 3-7 with a 4.18 ERA in 18 games (16 starts). In 95 1/3 innings, he allowed 81 hits and 28 walks with 104 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. The club shut him down as a precaution in mid-September because of right shoulder fatigue, which prompted the decision to improve its flexibility.

The Reds were careful in how they handled Iglesias last season, in part because he did not pitch in 2014 while defecting from Cuba and awaiting a visa to enter the United States. He was also a former reliever learning how to be a starter on the job. At times, that inexperience showed in how he navigated through an outing, especially against a lineup the second or third time.

"With his ability to command the zone, multiple arm slots, multiple pitches, I think he's a guy that could manage some really quick games where he pitches deep into the game," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Learning, continuing to mature as a pitcher and being able to find outs without always trying to rare back and beat guys with velocity will be a big learning lesson for him. [He is a] pretty polished guy. It's not like he's real green and we have to teach him how to pitch. He has a pretty good feel for it already. Now he kind of knows what to expect after last year."

Price declined to set an innings goal for Iglesias. Iglesias hoped he could reach 180 innings, especially with the work he and the medical staff have done to strengthen his shoulder.

"The results are excellent. I really feel good," Iglesias said. "I feel that everything we've done has been great. If we continue to do this for the whole season, I shouldn't have any issue. I feel that my shoulder is doing well."