Reds looking forward to Stephens stepping up

Rookie's stint in Majors could be short, but he may help spell injury-depleted rotation

Reds looking forward to Stephens stepping up

TORONTO -- Reds right-hander Jackson Stephens' first stint in the Majors could be a short one, though a wave of injuries to Cincinnati's pitching staff has created an opportunity for someone to step up.

Reds manager Bryan Price said the 23-year-old Stephens, called up Tuesday when right-handed reliever Robert Stephenson was optioned to Triple-A Louisville, arrived "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" overnight before Cincinnati's matinee in Toronto on Wednesday. With a 5.79 ERA over 10 starts for Louisville, Stephens could prove valuable by eating up innings for the Reds' injury-depleted rotation.

"[He] threw over 100 pitches in his last start, and he can give us length," Price said. "Given the opportunity, I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch."

Injuries have accumulated quickly for the Reds' staff. Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan are all on the disabled list, as well as promising left-hander Amir Garrett and Nick Travieso. Stephens would be the 22nd pitcher to appear for Cincinnati this season.

Price said he was clear with the rookie that this could be a short stay with the Reds, who see Stephens as a starter.

"I'd much prefer to be bringing him to the big leagues as a starting pitcher because he's really throwing great," Price said. "I'd like to see Jackson get on a nice roll in Louisville and have him force his way into the rotation. I think that would be the best way for him to break in."

Injury report
• Out since May 23 with right hip inflammation, Garrett was scheduled to throw a side session Thursday. The club's No. 2 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, Garrett showed flashes of potential in posting a 6.00 ERA over eight starts. He could return to the rotation during the Reds' seven-game homestand, Price said.

Garrett fans Rizzo

• Bailey, DeSclafani and Finnegan are all "making good strides," and all three could wrap up their rehab in June.

"It could be a good month for us to be able to strengthen our rotation with some really good internal candidates," Price said.

• As the staff gets healthy, Asher Wojciechowski seems the front-runner to keep a spot in the rotation. The 28-year-old gave up four runs in four innings against Toronto on Tuesday.

"Right now, it's still kind of a mixed bag," Price said. "[Lisalverto] Bonilla's been so-so in the rotation, Asher has one start, [Jake] Buchanan is a guy that we grabbed on a waiver claim. It's hard to define who's the best of the bunch unless we give them opportunities, but right now, as it stands, I would anticipate Asher in the rotation."

Nick Patch is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto who covered the Reds on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.