CINCINNATI -- When it comes to getting himself all the way back from the right oblique strain that's had him on the 10-day disabled list since April 21, Reds reliever Tony Cingrani prefers not to be a talker, but a doer.
"Obviously, there is some progress. I have to go do some [stuff]," Cingrani said gruffly, as he made his way out of the home clubhouse on Monday afternoon.
Cingrani hadn't made enough progress, however, that he could begin a throwing program last week, as originally hoped. But he seems to be mostly pain-free, according to manager Bryan Price.
"That doesn't mean the oblique isn't still irritated," Price said. "But in those first four, five or six days, there was a way to create the soreness through certain exercises or positions. He's not recreating any soreness currently.
"I would anticipate that [throwing] would be initiated relatively soon on the front end of this homestand."
The Reds and the medical staff is mindful of the multiple setbacks starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani had last season with an oblique injury that put him on the DL for more than two months.
"So we're doing everything we can to keep this particular injury from going and getting really sideways on us and being a long rehab," Price said. "He'll have to check off some boxes in regards to this throwing, long toss and bullpens, and then certainly we're going to make sure we get him into a [rehab assignment] game. We'll get him into at least one game to verify that he doesn't have any soreness before we reactivate him."
Two Reds pitching prospects at Double-A Pensacola are off to fantastic first months of the season. Tyler Mahle owns a 4-0 record and 0.55 ERA through his five starts, which included a perfect game. Mahle has six walks with 34 strikeouts over 32 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, Luis Castillo has a 2.08 ERA through five starts with four walks and 25 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.
With the big league club's starting pitching struggling, could either warrant skipping a level and being promoted to the Major Leagues for the first time? Price didn't rule it out, but it would be more likely if there was a pressing need like an emergency starter and it's one of their turns to pitch
"Sometimes, that's how these decisions are made," Price said. "The other thing is, there is a sense of wanting these kids to pitch in Triple-A a bit before they're exposed to the big leagues. That's in a perfect world, and I would anticipate if they continue to pitch well that they'll get themselves to Triple-A here in relatively short order."
Mahle is currently not on the 40-man roster while Castillo, who was acquired from the Marlins in the Dan Straily trade in January, is on the 40-man.
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.