Marquis to start Reds' Cactus League opener

Veteran righty is one of several pitchers vying for Cincinnati's rotation openings

Marquis to start Reds' Cactus League opener

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The competition for the open spots in the Reds' rotation will commence from the first pitch of Cactus League action. Manager Bryan Price announced Thursday that veteran right-hander Jason Marquis will start the first game for Cincinnati on Tuesday vs. the Indians.

Marquis, 36, was signed to a Minor League contract in the offseason and is competing to make the roster.

"We obviously have to slot our guys in to get them ready for the season," Price said on Thursday morning. "We have a pretty good idea. First, you have to get through these live batting-practice sessions and kind of reassess. If everything were to move along as expected, Jason would start the first game of spring."

Following Marquis on Wednesday vs. Cleveland will be another rotation candidate in lefty Tony Cingrani, followed by ace Johnny Cueto on March 5, again vs. the Indians. A starter was not revealed for March 6 against the Cubs, and Mike Leake is tentatively slated for March 7 vs. the Royals.

Other rotation candidates in camp include Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, Paul Maholm, David Holmberg and Dylan Axelrod. Some of these pitchers will have to appear out of the bullpen.

"There's just not enough starts to get eight or nine different guys ready to start games in Spring Training," Price said.

Homer Bailey is still rehabbing from torn flexor mass surgery and is not working off a mound just yet, leaving an open spot available early on.

"That's going to create, potentially, once or twice through the rotation before we see Homer," Price said. "You could see Maholm, Iglesias or Holmberg -- any number of guys who get a chance to start.

"You're not going to have to figure it out too much -- based on the number of innings certain guys are getting -- who's competing for the starting rotation and who's more geared for the bullpen."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.