Reds deciding on starting pitcher for Friday

Relievers Sampson, Smith are candidates to face Cubs

Reds deciding on starting pitcher for Friday

ST. LOUIS -- With Homer Bailey unable to be ready in time and rookie Brandon Finnegan likely shut down for the season, the Reds will be short a starting pitcher once again on Friday when they return home to face the Cubs.

The probable pitcher is TBA, but will likely be one of Cincinnati's long relievers -- Josh Smith or Keyvius Sampson.

"It will be like what we did with the Cubs last time. We'll see where we are," manager Bryan Price said before Monday's series opener against the Cardinals. "We'll probably see how much Smith and Sampson are used in this series [vs. the Cardinals], who's freshest, who can give us the most."

On Sept. 20 at Wrigley Field, Smith started and pitched well for three innings and allowed one run in a no-decision during a 6-1 loss to the Cubs. He returned on Sunday from the bullpen and pitched a scoreless sixth inning -- giving up two hits with two strikeouts in a 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

Sampson last pitched on Sept. 17 vs. the Pirates -- allowing two runs over 1 2/3 innings while throwing 54 pitches. Smith also pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief in that game, but Sampson did not rebound as well from that outing.

Price noted that Sampson had been available to pitch prior to Monday.

"He's been fine," Price said. "There just hasn't been a circumstance in which I've wanted to use him yet."

Cozart to DL
In what was largely a procedural move, the Reds formally placed shortstop Zack Cozart on the 15-day disabled list on Monday. The move is retroactive to Sept. 16, but Cozart hasn't played since Sept. 10 because of right patellar tendinitis and wasn't expected to return this season.

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