Cincinnati Reds cut 5 players from camp; Joey Votto plays in minor league games
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) – The Cincinnati Reds made their second round of roster cuts in Major League camp Saturday, narrowing the field for a couple of positional battles.
Saturday’s cuts included utilityman Nick Solak, catcher Chuckie Robinson and righthanded pitchers Levi Stoudt, Lyon Richardson and Jared Solomon. Solak, a righthanded hitter, was vying for one of the bench spots while Stoudt was competing for one of the last two spots in the starting rotation.
“(Solak) is going to keep focusing on getting more and more comfortable at multiple positions,” Reds Manager David Bell said. “I believe that’s what is going to allow him to stick in the big leagues is continuing to work on his defense. Ideally, it’s all over the field. I think that gives him as good of a chance to get the most opportunity, but we like him. He can hit.”
The Reds, who have 56 players remaining in camp, have a few candidates competing for a utilityman role, including Chad Pinder, Richie Martin, Alejo Lopez and Jason Vosler. Matt Reynolds, another player who would fit into that category, remains sidelined with a quad strain in both legs. The Reds are expected to carry three catchers at the beginning of the season, giving them one fewer spot to fill the rest of the bench.
Stoudt, 25, was one of the four prospects the Reds received from Seattle in the Luis Castillo trade. Bell said the timing of Stoudt’s cut was to allow him to settle into minor league camp. Minor league spring training games begin Monday.
“He has everything he needs to be successful here,” Bell said. “Just continuing to pitch, have success and believe how good he is. Every batter he faces, he can honestly believe he’s better than that guy. I think that might be the last click for Levi. He’s got a great slider. If anything, technically with the pitching, it’s continuing to use his fastball effectively because he has a good fastball too.”
The Reds have five starting pitchers competing for two spots in the rotation: Luke Weaver, Luis Cessa, Brandon Williamson, Chase Anderson and Connor Overton. Weaver and Cessa are probably the favorites to earn the spots.
Joey Votto begins playing in minor league games
The Reds haven’t put a timeline on Joey Votto appearing in Cactus League games, or whether he will be ready by Opening Day, but he began playing in minor league intrasquad games Friday.
Votto took several at-bats during Friday’s Triple-A vs. Double-A game. He drew a walk against the righthanded Richardson and he lined out to right field in his last at-bat against Double-A righty Christian Roa.
“That was a big step,” Bell said. “He felt great. I don’t know when we will see him in a major league game yet, but that was a big step.”
Votto played again Saturday and increased his activity to playing first base during the intrasquad game.
Kevin Herget moves to bullpen
At the beginning of camp, the Reds had nonroster invitee Kevin Herget as one of the pitchers competing for a spot in the starting rotation.
Herget, 31, who made his major league debut with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, has experience as a starter and a reliever, and now the Reds are looking at him purely as a reliever at this point. He pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, and he’s scheduled to return to the mound Sunday.
“He’s really impressed all of us in camp,” Bell said. “He flies under the radar just a little bit. He’s done everything to this point that we wanted to see. He’s definitely in the mix to make our team.”
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