Melville excited for promotion to Majors

Rookie is second behind Stephenson to make first big league start in Opening Week

Melville excited for promotion to Majors

CINCINNATI -- The Reds announced late Friday night that Tim Melville will start Sunday's series finale against Pittsburgh. He'll be the second Reds starter to make his Major League debut in the first week of the season, joining Robert Stephenson.

This is nothing new for the Reds, who set modern club records last season with 110 starts by nine different rookies, including a modern Major League record 64 consecutive starts by rookies to end the season.

The official transaction, as well as the corresponding move to make room for him on the 40-man roster, won't come until after Saturday's game against the Pirates is completed, and may not be announced until Sunday.

Melville, 26, was signed to a Minor League contract last November with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Originally a fourth-round pick out of high school by the Royals in 2008, Melville spent all of 2015 with the Tigers' Triple-A club at Toledo. It was his first experience pitching above the Double-A level. He was in Toledo on Friday with the Reds' top affiliate, Louisville, when he got the call about his pending promotion.

"I tried calling my mom," said Melville. "I guess when these things happen, no one answers. She didn't answer. I finally got a hold of her, though."

Melville started twice and made three relief appearances for the Reds in Spring Training, covering 17 1/3 innings. He was 0-2 with a 5.71 ERA in those games, but he isn't too concerned about those numbers.

"Numbers-wise, it wasn't where I wanted it, but I felt that being here with [pitching coach Mark] Riggins, we developed a lot of things, and I came a lot of way and I have a lot of momentum coming into the season from Spring Training," said Melville. "Particularly the changeup -- the changeup has come a long way. I'm throwing it in the zone for strikes, and hitters aren't getting good swings off of it. I'm using that all over, in any count."

The Reds foresaw the possibility of needing someone to make a spot start on this date in the schedule during Spring Training. They were hopeful that Anthony DeSclafani would be able to make his first start of the season, but he's not 100 percent recovered from a left oblique strain and will remain on the 15-day disabled list. Melville has been considered a candidate to make this start throughout the process.

"He really learned, I thought, over the course of six weeks in Spring Training of how to utilize his stuff," said manager Bryan Price. "He didn't use his curveball very much earlier in his career. He didn't really have a defined changeup. It was just kind of always a pitch that was in the works. Now he's got both, and he utilizes both."

Kevin Goheen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.