Young Reds arms will get chance to start

Davis, Stephens and Mella among candidates to pitch from rotation as season winds down

Young Reds arms will get chance to start

CINCINNATI -- Once this weekend's three-game series vs. the Pirates concludes, the Reds' remaining 12 games of 2017 will all be against contenders. Although manager Bryan Price plans to have his team do all it can to win to maintain the integrity of the races, his club plans to take a look at some young starting pitchers.

The rotation for Cincinnati's next series, a three-game affair vs. the Cardinals beginning on Tuesday, remains "TBA". It could be revealed as soon as Saturday.

"A lot of these young guys are up here so we can see what adjustments they've made in Triple-A," Price said on Friday. "We will have some different starting pitchers between now and the end of the season. I won't say more than that until we have them all in line and when they're going to pitch and they know they're going to pitch. There will be some new faces in the rotation as we move forward."

Cincinnati is currently employing four rookies in its five-man rotation. One of them, Tyler Mahle, is close to his innings limit for the year and is expected to be shut down soon. In two starts since his return from Triple-A Louisville, Amir Garrett hasn't fared well.

Among the likely candidates, Rookie Davis has made one two-inning relief appearance since he was recalled after Louisville's season ended. Davis, the Reds' No. 19 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, opened the season in the Reds' rotation and was 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in five starts before being sent down on May 10.

Davis K's the side in the 4th

Jackson Stephens has made three relief appearances and retired 18 of 23 batters over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. He made his lone big league start on July 1 vs. the Cubs and allowed three runs and five hits over five innings for a 5-3 win.

Though perhaps a less-likely starting candidate, Keury Mella is another pitcher that was called up from Double-A Pensacola on Tuesday but he has yet to make his big league debut. Mella, Cincinnati's No. 21 prospect, went 4-10 with a 4.30 ERA in 27 games, including 26 starts, with Pensacola this season.

Injury updates
• Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton, currently on the 10-day disabled list with a fractured left thumb, is still wearing a brace to immobilize his hand. But Hamilton has made improvements.

"I feel like I'm to the point where I'm way better than where I was at the beginning," Hamilton said. "I'm can move it more, [I'm] gripping and moving it around a lot."

With a little more than two weeks left in the season, Hamilton wants to finish the year back in the lineup.

"It's very important. I'm trying to get back as quick as possible," said Hamilton, who injured his thumb on Sept. 6 vs. the Brewers while trying to bunt.

• Lefty reliever Wandy Peralta, who has not pitched in a game since Sept. 2 because of a sore right hip, threw in a side bullpen session on Friday.

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.