Finnegan looking to make an impression

Southpaw shines in Reds debut, hopes to earn a rotation spot next spring

Finnegan looking to make an impression

CINCINNATI -- Left-hander Brandon Finnegan is projected to be a starting pitcher in the long term for the Reds. And Cincinnati could soon be short on starters, as some rookies hit their innings limits before the season ends.

But the current plan for the rest of the 2015 season appears to use Finnegan from the bullpen. And the plan for him to start in '16 remains the same.

"We're not going, 'is he a starter or a reliever?' We see him as a starting pitcher," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He was in flux this year between having to help the big league club in Kansas City as a reliever and coming back down to the Minor Leagues to start. It's a reintroduction to starting, and that's why we're cautious on the re-entry."

The 22-year-old Finnegan made his Reds debut in the sixth inning of Friday's game vs. the Cardinals, and he retired all six batters he faced, striking out two.

"It was good to get out there and start throwing again. It was fun," said Finnegan, who had most recently pitched on Sept. 4 for Triple-A Louisville and was recalled on Tuesday. "I could have thrown more. That's all they needed from me."

Acquired as part of the July 26 trade that sent ace Johnny Cueto to the Royals, Finnegan was 0-3 with a 6.28 ERA in eight starts for Louisville. The Reds will have several young pitchers vying for rotation spots next spring, and Finnegan, who pitched in relief as a September callup for the Royals last season and appeared in seven postseason games, will use the opportunities he gets this month to make an impression.

"That's the plan -- to be in the rotation next year," Finnegan said. "We'll see how the rest of the year pans out and how Spring Training goes."

Because he transitioned back to starting in the Minors mid-season this year, Finnegan hadn't stretched out to more than five innings. Price didn't rule out a start for Finnegan this month, but it would likely be a shorter outing.

"I just need him to go out there and feel that he can compete with enough pitches to be able to go out there and pitch five innings," Price said. "That, to me, would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 pitches or so. He finished with 88 pitches in his last outing [for Louisville]. At this point in time, I'm not sure if he'll start any games here or not -- but he will get some innings, for sure."

Rose honored for Hit King anniversary

Before Saturday's regularly scheduled game, Reds great Pete Rose made a rare on-field appearance. Rose was honored the day after the 30th anniversary of his 4,192nd hit, which surpassed Ty Cobb as baseball's all-time hits leader. The sold-out crowd at Great American Ball Park gave Rose a standing ovation and he also received a key to the city from Cincinnati vice mayor David Mann. The Reds marked the day by giving all fans a Rose bobblehead.

Rose has been permanently banned from baseball since 1989 for illegal gambling, but has been granted approval by Major League Baseball over the years to appear at select special occasions.

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.