Cingrani to 'pen as Reds shed light on rotation plans

Iglesias getting stretched out; veterans Marquis, Maholm look like strong bets

Cingrani to 'pen as Reds shed light on rotation plans

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Tony Cingrani was supposed to start Monday's Cactus League game against the Giants in his continued bid for one of the three spots available in the Reds' rotation. But the left-hander was pushed back to a relief appearance on Tuesday against the Indians, while righty Raisel Iglesias got the nod for Monday.

In Spring Training, such a move could just be something procedural, but it turns out there's more to it.

"It means that we're going to get Iglesias stretched out, and as of right now, we're looking at Tony as more of a relief option than as a starting option," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We have to find a way to get out of the gates strong, and at this point in time, the feeling was that organizationally, Tony's better suited for us at the moment as a relief pitcher."

Cingrani was visibly disappointed by the news. When asked how he felt about it, he said, "I don't know. Whatever. That's what they're telling me to do, so that's what I got to do.

"It's their call. It's not my call."

With the optioning of lefty David Holmberg to Triple-A Louisville, which also was announced Monday morning, the options behind No. 1 starter Johnny Cueto and No. 2 man Mike Leake -- with Homer Bailey still rehabbing and not expected back until mid-April -- have been whittled down to Iglesias, veterans Jason Marquis and Paul Maholm and righty Anthony DeSclafani.

And Price's comments in the wake of the Cingrani move seem to indicate that Marquis and Maholm are looking good for two of those three spots.

"The thing is, when we have veteran guys like Marquis and Maholm, you're not going to use them for one start," Price said. "If they're going to be on our team, the hope is that they're on our team for an entire season, if not longer. And that's how we have to look at that. … You can back-and-forth a young guy. You can start a game or two and then go down to the Minor Leagues or go to the bullpen and help us as a long guy. So Marquis and Maholm are looking more like long-term, start-to-finish options for us."

As for Cingrani, Prince wouldn't rule out a possible return to the rotation at some point. Cingrani made 29 starts for Cincinnati over the past two seasons, including 11 last season, but he has been hobbled with back, shoulder and hip injuries.

"It's possible," Price said. "We want to keep him strong and healthy, and we've had a hard time doing that the last two years. … So one of the things that we hope is that pitching out of the bullpen will allow him to be strong and remain strong, and then evaluate if we think it's a good idea to look at him as a starter in the future."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.