"I'm excited. It should be good," Cingrani said on Tuesday. "I've faced the Cubs plenty of times. They have a really good lineup. I'm pretty pumped to go out there and face them."
Cingrani's last big league start was on June 9, 2014, vs. the Dodgers, followed by two relief appearances and a demotion to Louisville before he was shut down with left shoulder tendinitis.
In 13 games last season, Cingrani was 2-8 with a 4.55 ERA. The Reds decided in Spring Training to make the power left-hander a reliever. The 26-year-old was 0-3 with 3.47 ERA in 24 appearances before going on the DL. Over 23 1/3 innings, he allowed 17 hits and 17 walks with 26 strikeouts.
"I'm just glad to have him back on our team," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's not even so much the role, it's having a guy that really had a breakout season in  and was our most dominant organizational pitcher that came up through our system, and have him back in the mix."
One knock on Cingrani since he first came up in 2012 has been that he lacks a secondary pitch. During his rehab assignment, he worked on his slider.
"I'm looking forward to seeing a little bit more of a complete pitcher and has more in his arsenal than he did when he was hurt," Price said.
"I've been throwing it for a year-plus, trying to get it good," Cingrani said. "It's come a long way. It's a good pitch. It's useable."
The Reds have used five rookies in their rotation this season and could lose both of their veterans -- ace Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake -- if they are dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cingrani, currently with 29 big league starts on his resume from 2013-14, would become the most experienced pitcher in Cincinnati's rotation.
"I miss the routine and that sort of stuff," Cingrani said of starting. "But I liked being in the back end of the bullpen and coming out in the eighth inning and ninth inning. That stuff is fun, but starting, you've got the routine. You know what you're going to get. You know when you're going to pitch. That's pretty nice."
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.