CINCINNATI -- The Reds claimed left-handed pitcher Bobby Livingston off waivers Thursday from the Mariners, and plan to have him compete for a spot in their rotation. Livingston spent most of last season with the Mariners' Triple-A club in Tacoma, and went 8-11 with a 4.59 ERA in 23 appearances, including 22 starts. He made his Major League debut in 2006, when he appeared in three games with Seattle as a reliever. The acquisition wasn't without controversy. The Devil Rays first claimed Livingston off the waiver wire Tuesday, and immediately traded him to the Phillies for cash considerations. Major League Baseball stepped in Thursday and nullified Tampa Bay's claim and voided the deal with Philadelphia.
The Phillies were behind the Reds and other clubs for waiver claims. MLB awarded the pitcher to Cincinnati as a result. "We felt that it circumvented the rules of claiming players on waivers," MLB spokesman Patrick Courtney said. "It wasn't following the order of teams on the list." Cincinnati had scouted the 24-year-old Livingston during the season and at this year's Arizona Fall League games. He will battle for the fifth starter's spot in Spring Training with Elizardo Ramirez, Matt Belisle, Homer Bailey and others. "He's close to the Major Leagues," Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "He got a taste of it. We like his athletic ability and durability. He's a strike thrower and competes well. We think he's on the cusp on being in a Major League rotation. He'll be competition with our other starters." Livingston, Seattle's fourth-round pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, had his best season at Double-A in 2005, when he had 14 wins and a 2.86 ERA. Considered a control pitcher, he doesn't have overpowering velocity. The Reds now have a full big-league roster with 40 players.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.