Reds confident Reed can progress in bigs

Despite lefty's 1st-inning struggles, Price doesn't see benefit to Triple-A demotion

Reds confident Reed can progress in bigs

CINCINNATI -- As Cody Reed continues to struggle, Reds manager Bryan Price maintains that the best place for him to try to work out the kinks is at the Major League level.

Reed, 0-6 with a 7.30 ERA after a loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday, has managed one quality start in eight appearances. Through it all, Price has consistently said that Reed will get the opportunity to keep pitching for the Reds. While he recognized that every player with prolonged struggles has an "expiration date," he doesn't see a benefit to sending Reed back to Triple-A.

"I think if he goes back to Triple-A and pitches well, he'll be doing something that he's done already," Price said. "We always keep an eye on what's best for the individual, and my feeling to this point has been that ... this is a great opportunity for Cody to learn at this level."

In order to stay, Reed will have to "show much improvement to suggest that he should be staying here and pitching for this team," Price added. With the unique position of the team -- in a rebuilding mode that allows them to nurture young talent at the Major League level -- Reed will get at least one more Major League start, having already been penciled in to start Monday against the Cardinals again.

Reed's biggest problem has been the first inning, which was on display on Wednesday. Reed gave up hits on two of the first four pitches he threw, ultimately leading to a four-run first inning. He gave up just one more run after that.

Reed's first-inning ERA this season is 14.62, by far his worst of any inning excluding the seventh, which he's reached once.

"I think sometimes … it takes him a little while to settle in, just to settle in with the delivery and the effort level. I think there's a lot of effort in that first inning," Price said. "What I mean about effort is when the effort level is inconsistent with what you need to be able to do to execute quality pitches, it doesn't work real well."

One fix the Reds have tried is to have Reed mix his offspeed stuff better instead of going with his usual fastball-slider mix early in counts. On Wednesday, Reed's third pitch was a changeup to Tommy Pham, a good pitch that he squeaked off the end of the bat for a single.

The Reds are confident that the 23-year-old lefty, who posted a 3.20 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning in 11 Triple-A starts this season, will be able to figure things out eventually.

"He has the ability, we've seen it, to be a side-to-side command pitcher with plus stuff," Price said. "That's just not showing up until after the first inning. It's really getting into being able to control the emotion and the effort level from the first hitter on."

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.