GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds got closer to their 25-man Opening Day roster by making six cuts Wednesday.
Before the club's 6-3 win over the White Sox, outfielder Tyler Holt was optioned to Triple-A Louisville, while relievers Drew Hayes, Ryan Mattheus, JC Ramirez and Pedro Villarreal were reassigned to the Minor League camp. Lefty reliever and Rule 5 Draft pick Chris O'Grady has cleared waivers and was offered back to his former club, the Angels. The Angels have three days to decide if they want him back.
Of that group, Villarreal and Hayes had the best springs. Villarreal posted a 2.25 ERA in eight appearances while Hayes had a 0.90 ERA in his eight games. Neither pitcher was on the 40-man roster, however, which made it tougher.
"That poses part of the challenge," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "A lot of factors went into the decision. That No. 1, was a consideration -- creating roster spots for guys and having some flexibility with the guys we have on the roster. The other part is as we shrink this down, there are guys we really wanted to see first."
Villarreal and Hayes could be summoned during the season, if needed.
"I think both of those guys can help us," Price said. "They can both pitch in the big leagues. It's been hard to get Pedro established. He had a good year for us last year. Drew just hasn't been to the big leagues yet. What he's done is put himself on the map. That's what you have to do first, much like [Ivan] De Jesus and Kris Negron and those guys before him -- non-roster guys that come in and have good springs and when that first opportunity comes, they're the best pitcher and the best option for us."
Price revealed that he told outfielder Adam Duvall and utility infielder De Jesus that they will make the club.
Cincinnati has 35 players on the roster and must be at the 25-man limit before Opening Day against the Phillies on Monday. With O'Grady out, the 40-man roster is at 38.
"At this time of the year, it is a lot of decisions," Price said. "There is no other way to say it. We have a lot of debating going on right now. That's just the reality of our situation is trying to get this right, have everyone have a voice and then come to some finality."