Price not yet ready to name Opening Day starter

Decision to outline rotation plans still could be days away

Price not yet ready to name Opening Day starter

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The way Reds right-hander Raisel Iglesias pitched on Friday in a 7-6 loss to the Rockies at Goodyear Ballpark, it didn't make the starting rotation picture any clearer for manager Bryan Price.

Iglesias pitched only three innings, which is nothing at this stage of the spring with only six days remaining until the Reds break camp after a game against the Indians here on Thursday.

He allowed four hits and three runs, all of them on a second-inning homer by Rockies middle-infielder Pat Valaika. The Reds have given up seven homers in their last two games -- losses to the Rangers and Rockies -- five of them by prospective starters.

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"In the big picture he got his work in, which is a typical Spring Training thing to say," Price said about Iglesias, in particular. "I'd like them to be perfect innings and flawless, but that's part of Spring Training."

On Thursday, Price said he was about 48 hours away from naming a starter for the opener on April 4 against the Phillies in Cincinnati and at least a semblance of a rotation. Now he's in a holding pattern.

"I just need to make sure that we have five guys who are stretched out and are ready to pitch by the time we get to Opening Day," Price said. "It's really been our goal with as many injuries as we've had, we need to figure out who those five guys are that can help us."

At this point in the spring, inquiring minds want to know. Could the announcement of an Opening Day starter go into next week?

"Well, possibly," Price said. "I'd like to be able to tell you who our Opening Day starter is and the other guys right now I feel are in our rotation. There's just an environment that's better suited to let that information out."

Price didn't get much the last two days from Anthony DeSclafani and Iglesias. The other three prospective starters are on the hook the next two days: Tim Melville against the Indians in Goodyear on Saturday in a split-squad with Brandon Finnegan facing the White Sox at Camelback Ranch, and Alfredo Simon against the Dodgers on Sunday.

Melville is a rookie, who is not yet on the 40-man roster. He's so far out there on the edge that his locker in the oval Reds clubhouse in the practice complex is surrounded by empty cubicles once used by the guys who've already been sent out this spring.

Finnegan, acquired last July 26 in the deal that sent Johnny Cueto to the Royals, has an 8.18 ERA.

Other rotation hopefuls -- Michael Lorenzen (sore elbow) and Jon Moscot (intercostal strain) -- are both seemingly out of the picture for the first weeks of the season, at this point.

"Moscot threw a side today and that went really well," Price said. "Those kind of injuries can only get worse before they get better. He hasn't pitched since March 11 so he's got a little ways to go."

Moscot could get a couple of starts before camp closes, but Lorenzen hasn't pitched since March 4.

"We've got to keep stretching guys out because we're just another injury away from having to find [starters] on the waiver wire to be in our rotation," Price said. "And that's not a place where we want to be."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.