Cotham among Reds awaiting roster fate

Bullpen, bench spots may be announced on Wednesday

Cotham among Reds awaiting roster fate

PHOENIX -- The Reds are only a couple of days away from breaking camp, but they are still far from having a set 25-man roster. Manager Bryan Price indicated prior to Tuesday's 9-2 win to the Brewers that some clarity to the roster picture could come as soon as Wednesday.

"You got 41 guys on the roster, and we're less than a week away from Opening Day," Price said. "These are questions that are typically answered, but ambiguity has made it challenging to get the numbers down."

Still to be decided is who will be the spot starting pitcher in Game 3 of the regular season. Multiple bench spots are also up for grabs. No area is as much in flux as the bullpen, which has up to seven spots open. Price expected to carry eight relievers in the early days of the season.

Regular-season schedule | Tickets

J.J. Hoover is set as closer, and it looks good for Tony Cingrani, Jumbo Diaz and recent signee Ross Ohlendorf to make the club. That would leave four spots among nine relievers in Caleb Cotham, Dayan Diaz, Drew Hayes, Ryan Mattheus, Chris O'Grady, JC Ramirez, Keyvius Sampson, Pedro Villarreal and Blake Wood.

Obviously, it's a tenuous time to be one of these relievers.

"It's my first go at this, my first big league camp, so it's all new to me in a sense," Cotham said before he pitched on Tuesday. "I'm just trying not to think too much about it. When I get the ball, I just try to do my job and show the coaching staff what I'm capable of doing and try to be consistent."

Cotham gave up two runs (one earned) to the Brewers in Tuesday's seventh inning. Following a bloop leadoff double, he hit trouble with one out with a wild pitch, a lined RBI single, a chopped single and an error pickoff throw that let an unearned run score. In the eighth, he retired the side in order.

Before Cotham pitched, Wood delivered two scoreless frames after he worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday. Before that, Wood allowed 11 runs over his first nine innings this spring.

Wood makes debut for Reds

Dayan Diaz, Hayes, Mattheus, Ramirez and Villarreal are non-roster players. It would take an additional move to put them on the 40-man roster. It's even more complicated for O'Grady, who was selected from the Angels in December's Rule 5 Draft. If he doesn't make the team, he could be sent back to the Angels.

"It's tough. It's not something I've ever experienced before," said O'Grady, who has a 9.31 ERA in eight appearances. "I try not to think about it. I don't want too much in my head or it will affect what I do on the mound. It's hard not to think about when it's right there. When I'm on the mound, I use it as motivation."

There are practical matters away from the field that remain up in the air until decisions are made.

"It's just an odd situation," O'Grady said. "We just had all of our stuff shipped out. My truck was shipped out [Monday] to Cincinnati. If stuff was not to go the right way, I don't know what's going to happen. We'll see. I feel I've performed well even if the statistics haven't shown it at times. Hopefully they see it as enough to make the team."

Worth noting

• Price and the Reds decided that No. 2 starter Brandon Finnegan would make his final start on Thursday in a Minor League game. Cody Reed will be brought back from Minor League camp to start the Cactus League finale against the Indians. The Reds want Finnegan to get stretched out and can control the conditions in a Minor League game.

Opening Day starter Raisel Iglesias will make his final spring start on Wednesday, also in a Minor League game.

• Cingrani threw 28 pitches of live batting practice to a pair of Reds hitters at the team's complex in Goodyear.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for 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.