Cingrani could become a starter again

Cingrani could become a starter again

CINCINNATI -- Entering Spring Training, Reds left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani was thought to be in the mix for a rotation spot before he was ultimately put in the bullpen rather early on in the competition. At some point this season, it's possible that Cingrani could start again for Cincinnati.

The reports from the first rehab assignment outing at Triple-A Louisville were positive for Cingrani, who has been on the disabled list since June 15 with a left shoulder strain. He worked two scoreless innings with one walk and three strikeouts while throwing 35 pitches. Manager Bryan Price noted it could be a somewhat extended timetable for Cingrani because of the team's plans.

"We're trying to get him stretched out so he can fill multiple roles," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Saturday. "He has more value to us the longer he can pitch, the more innings he can pitch. He was really limited to being anywhere from a situational left-hander to a two-inning guy.

"The fact we have so many young guys in our rotation and we've used our bullpen quite a bit, his value will be more if he can give us more innings than less, so we're going to get him stretched out a little more than his standard two innings."

Being a starting pitcher again in the second half could also be in the cards for Cingrani, Price felt. Rookies Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias, when he returns from the DL from an oblique injury, are on innings limits. Homer Bailey and Jon Moscot are out for the season with injuries.

And while Price didn't broach this part of the topic, there is also a chance that soon-to-be free agents Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake could be traded after the All-Star break.

"Our concern moving forward is our fact that we've tapped into our system a lot more than we anticipated," Price said. "We've used an awful lot of our resources in our system."

Cingrani is 0-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 24 appearances this season. He made 29 starts for the Reds over the 2013-14 seasons and is 9-11 with a 3.50 ERA. He was shut down in June of last season with left shoulder tendinitis.

"Tony certainly becomes a candidate should we need a starting pitcher, if we get him stretched out enough," Price said. "If we need him before he's stretched out, he's a relief pitcher."

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