"The other part is we've got six weeks to figure out who's healthy and who isn't by the end of Spring Training. I've got a good idea of how I want to come out of the gates if things go as I anticipate them going, but there's certainly no guarantees that's going to happen. I won't be afraid to unfurl that rotation once I'm confident that's how it's going to lay out. I just don't want to shoot myself in the foot and have to renege on something."
It would not be a big leap of faith, however, to predict that the spot goes to Anthony DeSclafani. The other lock for the rotation besides DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, is on a delayed throwing schedule. Veteran Homer Bailey won't be ready until May after Tommy John surgery rehab, and the remaining three rotation spots are up for grabs among several candidates.
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The Opening Day starter the previous four seasons was Johnny Cueto, who was traded in July to the Royals and is now with the Giants. Also traded last summer was Mike Leake, and with Bailey injured, it left DeSclafani the longest-tenured member of an all-rookie Reds rotation for the final 64 games of last season.
In his first year with the Reds following a trade with the Marlins, DeSclafani was 9-13 with a 4.05 ERA, 55 walks, 194 hits, 151 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. He led all Major League rookies with 184 2/3 innings and was tied for first with 31 starts.
DeSclafani is taking nothing for granted and likes to prepare as if he doesn't have a job.
"I know there is a possibility, but by no means do I think [Opening Day] is my spot right now," said DeSclafani, who has 36 career Major League starts. "I don't want it handed to me. I just want to go out there and pitch well in spring and earn the right to do that. If they said I didn't earn it, so be it."
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.