Iglesias destined for bullpen upon activation

Opening Day starter targeting late June return from DL

Iglesias destined for bullpen upon activation

CINCINNATI -- Raisel Iglesias was the Reds' Opening Day starting pitcher this season, but there is a chance he might not start again this season. Iglesias, who is on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement, is being prepped for a bullpen role.

"Right now, we're looking at him as a reliever for a couple of different reasons," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Sunday. "No. 1, it's to help stabilize the bullpen. Even more importantly, we want to try and keep him as healthy as possible. We shut him down last year for innings and caretaking of his shoulder. He had a re-injury of his shoulder. We'll lighten the workload coming off this stint on the DL and then take a look either later in the year or early next year if starting is better or bullpen is better."

Iglesias is following the same return path as Michael Lorenzen, who has yet to pitch this season because of a right elbow sprain. Lorenzen, a starting pitcher last season, is also expected to return as a reliever. Both Iglesias and Lorenzen are targeted for returns in the third or fourth week of June.

Scheduled to throw a 30-pitch live batting practice on Sunday in Goodyear, Ariz., Iglesias was 1-1 with a 3.49 ERA in five starts before he went on the DL on May 1. He could soon begin a Minor League rehab assignment.

A reliever in Cuba before the Reds signed him in June 2014 to a seven-year contract worth $32 million, Iglesias started 16 of his 18 games as a rookie last season. He was shut down in mid-September with right shoulder fatigue and spent the offseason going through a special shoulder conditioning program.

Iglesias' impressive outing

Iglesias doesn't have an expected role in the Reds' bullpen this season. The club will work him in gradually and see where he is best suited.

"It's something he's done in international play and he's done extremely well," Price said. "With a starter's background for us, multiple innings is an option. It really opens up the door to just about anything once he gets re-acclimated to the bullpen -- anywhere from the middle of the game to sharing some responsibility late in the game or very back end."

Worth noting

• Rookie outfielder Kyle Waldrop, who was recalled on Saturday and pinch-hit in a 6-3 Reds victory over the Nationals, wasn't sure if his first big league hit would count. Waldrop, batting in the seventh inning for pitcher Dan Straily, grounded a ball that a took bad hop and got by second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Waldrop's first MLB hit

Although it could have been an error on Murphy, it was ruled a single by the official scorer. Waldrop, who had two previous callups, was given the ball as a memento.

"It was awesome. Everyone wants that first big league hit. It doesn't matter how you get it, you've got it," Waldrop said on Sunday. "I was on first base. I didn't want to keep staring at the scoreboard, but [coach Jim] Riggleman said, 'You've got it, you've got it.' The next thing you know it popped up that it was my first Major League hit, and the crowd was cheering. I was definitely a little worried at first, it could've gone either way."

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.