Stephenson, Reed candidates to join rotation

Stephenson, Reed candidates to join rotation

DENVER -- Following Daniel Wright's 3 1/3 innings of relief in the Reds' 17-4 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday, manager Bryan Price did not rule out returning the rookie to the rotation soon. But Price also tipped his hand on Wednesday that other young arms could be brought in as well.

That includes Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed, who are both at Triple-A Louisville and are ranked the club's Nos. 2 and 3 prospects, respectively. Anthony DeSclafani, who has been out all season with an oblique injury, is one more rehab assignment start away from being activated from the disabled list.

"I think there are a lot of things that are going to happen in this month," Price said. "I think we're going to have to take a hard look at what our options are at Triple-A, and look hard at Stephenson and Reed and their development and how far they are in their development and how close they are to being ready. Knowing that DeSclafani is coming back and knowing we have some guys that are scuffling a little bit in the rotation that are going to have to pitch better to maintain their positions. There are a lot of balls in the air right now."

Stephenson, who has already made two big league starts this season, had a 3.28 ERA in eight starts for Louisville entering his outing on Wednesday. Reed has a 2.70 ERA over his eight starts. The club has been deliberate about promoting them, wanting more development time. There are also service time concerns and wanting avoid potential Super 2 status in arbitration that would make them more expensive sooner.

Although Brandon Finnegan and Dan Straily would seem safe from changes, both Alfredo Simon and John Lamb have struggled. And in his return from the disabled list in Tuesday's loss, Jon Moscot allowed seven runs in two innings -- including four home runs.

Wright replaced Moscot and gave up four runs and eight hits.

"Overall, I wasn't happy with the results," Wright said. "I know I was in there to eat up a couple of innings. I was able to do that. I would have liked to not give up runs."

Price was pleased with what he saw from Wright in his second big league appearance. On May 24 in his debut vs. the Dodgers, Wright gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings.

"He's done a nice job," Price said. "Both times he's pitched, I've been impressed with his ability to throw the ball over the plate with some command and a mix of three quality pitches. I think he could do either, we just have to find where the best opportunity and best fit is here over time."

Wright, 25, started the season as a reliever at Double-A Pensacola, but he made two spot starts before going back to the bullpen. At Louisville, he made two starts before being promoted to the big leagues to replace the injured Tim Adleman.

"I'm comfortable doing either one," Wright said. "Whenever they give me the ball and tell me to go out there, my job is to get outs -- whether it's as a starter or reliever."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. 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.