After a year of superb relief the Cincinnati bullpen came into this season with unusual depth. That…
Opening Day Roster Set
At the end of the day it appears that the final preference was having Manny Parra available as a lefty specialist alongside southpaws Sean Marshall setting up and Chapman closing. J.J. Hoover allowed only two runs in ten innings after coming off a nice rookie season which was awarded with a ticket to Cincinnati. As expected Nick Masset will once again begin his season on the DL. Other right-handed relievers are Jonathan Broxton, Sam LeCure and Alfredo Simon.
For some Arredondo's assignment might be a real head-scratcher. He's pitched well for the Reds since arriving after missing the 2010 season after Tommy John surgery. When he finally made it back in mid-May, 2011 manager Dusty Baker used him frequently and he responded with a 3.24 ERA, though not many of his appearances were protecting a close lead. Masset's injury last year pulled him into a more prominent role and he stepped up to be a vital part of top bullpen in baseball with a sub-two ernie in 66 games. This spring he was charged with four earned runs in almost thirteen innings.
The other righty candidate for a bullpen spot was Logan Ondrusek who will begin his season at AA Pensacola. That's quite a fall for someone who didn't allow his first earned run until mid-May of last season and was sitting on a sub-three ERA on August 1. He didn't help himself when he gave up nine earned runs in eleven innings this spring. Now it looks like he'd better get ready for some time in the minors because Arredondo likely has the inside track on the first need that arises in the Reds pen.
Another spot up for grabs was a backup middle infielder and that job was given to Cesar Izturis who hit .333 in the Cactus League after coming to the Reds on a minor league contract. The other top candidate was Jason Donald who hit .250 while missing some time with a knee injury. Izturis's experience at shortstop probably gave him an edge because Brandon Phillips has been very durable at second and free agent signee Jack Hannahan is on the bench to back up the two corner infield positions. Another candidate, former Giant Emmanuel Burris was sent to Pensacola.
The rotation will be the same as it was all last season: Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, and Mike Leake. Todd Frazier will take over third base full time and join Phillips, Joey Votto, and Zach Cozart in the infield. Xavier Paul hit .255 this spring which along with his strong finish last season was enough to get the Reds final outfield spot behind Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick, and Chris Heisey.
The basic numbers guaranteed that there was going to be someone disappointed. It's also surprising that Arredondo drew no interest and cleared waivers, opening up his spot on the 40-man roster. Parra did not have an outstanding career in Milwaukee before the Brewers granted him free agency. Though he had an ERA over five last year he did hold left-handed hitters to a .229 average and the Reds are hoping he will be an effective LOOGY like Bill Bray was in 2011. One thing for certain, no one is going to send good relievers down to the minors without a bunch of other good ones and the bullpen should once again be strong in Cincinnati in 2013.
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