GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As several Reds starters suffered injuries during Spring Training one year ago, Tim Adleman moved up the pecking order, despite being a non-roster invitee. But when Adleman was given a chance to start, it couldn't have been much worse.
On March 16, 2016, vs. the D-backs, Adleman allowed seven earned runs on nine hits. He had a 22.85 ERA in four appearances. Manager Bryan Price recalled last year's struggles prior to Sunday's game against the Giants.
"For a drafted player, a released player and an independent league player, it looked like he just might be a journeyman guy," Price said. "He pitches in Double-A, does a nice enough job to get invited to big league camp and then gets rocked against the Diamondbacks. You kind of go, 'Well, maybe this guy is just a guy, just a filler player.' But he performed at Triple-A and created his opportunity."
Adleman returned during the regular season in 2016 to get his first big league opportunity. He went 4-4 with 4.00 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 13 starts. His 107 ERA+ was better than the league average of 100.
"He's one of the few guys who took advantage of his opportunity last year," Price said. "He really is playing with house money. He gives me a sense that he's very calm and under control when he's on the mound, and that's probably from the road he's had to travel to get here."
Adleman, 29, made his 2017 spring debut in Sunday's 9-5 loss to the Giants, and he did not fare well. In his two innings, he allowed two earned runs and four hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Several balls were barreled hard, including Conor Gillaspie's two-run homer in the second inning.
The difference between last year and this time around: Adleman is in the battle for one of the two open spots in the rotation. He's also more of a known quantity.
"You don't ever want to give up runs, but it certainly is better to have a bit of a resume as opposed to coming in fresh and giving up a two-run homer," Adleman said. "It's not quite how I wanted to start, but all in all, not too many complaints."
Adleman had four decent starts last May before a left oblique strain sent him to the disabled list. He did not return until Aug. 1 -- and didn't get back to the Majors until Aug. 19 -- but the Reds were pleased with his performance. Four of his last nine outings were quality starts.
"It was nice to string some together and finish on a high note," Adleman said. "Heading into the offseason, you don't want to leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth."
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.