All the talk about the Cincinnati Reds going into spring training was about the long line of pitching.
After little more than a week of exhibition games the line is getting shorter and shorter.
FORTUNATELY FOR THE Reds, a month remains before Opening Day and the hope is that all the early aches and pains are sorted out.
The latest setback came Wednesday when Michael Lorenzen was unable to make his scheduled start against the Texas Rangers.
The report is that Lorenzen has inflammation is his right shoulder and that he will be held back for a couple of days. The indication is that the club believes it is not serious — but that’s what they always say.
SO THAT’S THREE prospective rotation members who are encountering difficulties — Homer Bailey, Raisel Iglesias and now Lorenzen.
Bailey isn’t suffering any maladies. He is merely behind due to his Tommy John surgery late last year and while his progress reportedly is steadily on the plus side, he isn’t expected to pitch until mid-May.
Iglesias was shut down late last season with shoulder fatigue and the team is taking it slow with him. After several bullpen sessions he faced hitters in a batting practice situation Tuesday and isn’t expected to appear in a game until mid-spring.
AFTER LOSING TUESDAY night to the San Francisco Giants, 16-7, things didn’t get much better Wednesday, an 11-5 loss to the Texas Rangers in which the Reds scored all five runs in the bottom of the ninth after trailing, 11-0.
Pitching was the problem again, only on this day there was no hitting, either.
Tim Melville was the stand-in starter for Lorenzen and gave up two runs (one earned) and three hits in three innings. He gave up a two-run homer to Mitch Moreland aftrer left fielder Adam Duvall committed an error.
Blake Wood was next and he gave up a run on a home run by Ian Desmond and two hits over two innings.
Then came Ryan Mattheus, a guy trying to claim one of the available spots in the bullpen, but his resume was smeared when he gave up four runs and six hits in one inning, including a two-run home run to former Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs.
Mattheus is now sporting a much-bloated 21.00 earned run average. And to finish up a miserable afternoon Caleb Cotham gave up four runs and five hits in the eighth inning.
The Reds had only four hits through the eighth inning. They loaded the bases in the eighth inning on three consecutive walks but Jay Bruce ended the inning on a fly ball.
Center fielder Tyler Holt had two of the Reds four hits over the first eight innings. The Reds avoided the ignominy of a spring training shut by scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth two-run doubles by Blake Trahan and Bryson Smith. Phillips Ervin’s double plated the fifth run.
The Reds have fallen to .500 at 4-and-4 and the Rangers are 6-and-1.
ON THE POSITIVE side, the Reds plan to turn loose shortstop Zack Cozart Friday or Saturday for his first game experience and catcher Devin Mesoraco also may make his first appearance in the middle of next week.
Billy Hamilton? Nobody knows for sure as his surgically repaired shoulder continues to tighten up on him.