Reds Reduce By Six More

Cincinnati continued to narrow down its roster Monday by reassigning five players and releasing another. They are now down to 27 players including 29 year-old minor league journeyman Chris Dominguez who appears to be headed for his first opening day roster after an impressive spring.

Cincinnati reduced the number of candidates for its opening day roster down to 27 on Monday, only two over the number that will make the trip north to begin the season on the opening day roster. Speculation has now ended that veteran Paul Maholm will be among them because the southpaw was released, probably in a mutually agreeable move that will allow him to compete for a rotation spot elsewhere.

Other moves sent longtime farmhand Pedro Villarreal back down to Louisville while reliever Nate Adcock, catcher Kyle Skipworth, and infielders Ivan DeJesus Jr and Irvin Falu were reassigned to the minor league camp. With three expected to begin the season on the disabled list there are now thirteen hitters and fourteen pitchers vying the final spots. Given the normal makeup of MLB rosters it would appear that manager Bryan Price will be finished when he makes decisions on two more pitchers.

Chris Dominguez had four hits Sunday including his third Cactus League home run and followed that up by delivering a pinch hit on Monday for his team high fourteenth RBI and raise his average to .353. That will probably be rewarded with a spot on the Reds opening day roster for the non-roster invite. It should be a thrill for the 29 year-old whose previous MLB action was limited to a 1-17 stint for the Giants last year. His one hit was impressive, a two-run home run, but his average was only .053. He did hit .271 with 21 homers for AAA Fresno last season and .294/15 in 2013. Dominguez was San Francisco’s third round selection in 2009 out of the University of Louisville. He brings a 6’4”/235# frame into the batter’s box and his versatility in the field probably helped him. Primarily a third baseman, he can provide backup in left field in addition to both corner infield spots. Since both backup outfielders hit left-handed he and Kris Negron will likely be used for right-handed options off the bench.

One of those lefty outfielders is another non-roster invite Brennan Boesch. He’s been expected to make the opening day roster since his main competition, Jason Bourgeois landed on the DL. Boesch is currently hitting .389 with an odd on-base percentage (.375) because it’s lower than his average. He’s also leading the Reds with four Cactus League homers and his fourteen RBI ties him with Dominguez.

Assuming Raisel Inglesias gets a spot in the rotation, it appears the final two cuts will be relievers. There’s no suspense on who will be closing, Tony Cingrani is expected to take over as the primary left-handed set-up man, Manny Parra is in the final year of his two-year extension, and Sam LeCure has enjoyed a lot of success coming out of the pen before last June. That leaves non-roster invite Kevin Gregg, Jumbo Diaz, Burke Badenhop, Michael Lorenzen, and J.J. Hoover competing for the final three spots. Diaz worked himself into some high-leverage appearances last year and though Badenhop has struggled with a double-digit ERA in spring training, he is coming off a 2.29 ernie over 70 appearances for Boston last year. Another option they may consider is taking advantage of the day off after opening day by skipping the five-man’s first start and carry an extra reliever until he’s needed at the end of the second cycle through the rotation.

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