MILWAUKEE -- With Mat Latos taking his spot in the rotation after coming off of the disabled list on Saturday, and reliever Sean Marshall going on it, "starter" Tony Cingrani will now be "reliever" Tony Cingrani for the foreseeable future.
Reds manager Bryan Price understood that the move wasn't good for the lefty Cingrani's development as a starter, but looked at the precedence of the big picture.
"I think we do have to prioritize this team -- in the end the most important thing is this team right now," Price said. "If we're 18 games out of first place right now, maybe it's a different decision to have him pitch in Triple-A as a starter and put some polish to his game. But, we still feel like we're very much in this thing and still have a lot of season to go. He does serve a valuable role for us."
Cingrani will be used primarily as a long reliever, but could eventually be a situational pitcher in the later innings.
"As a relief pitcher, he doesn't have to come in with a starter's mentality that he's going to have to face that same lineup, that same group of hitters three or four times in a start," Price said. "He's going to be able to come in and manage a couple of pitches, instead of three or four. We know that he's been very effective pitching, at times, exclusively with his fastball. [But] his breaking ball and changeup have gotten better."
Cingrani is 2-7 with a 4.68 ERA in 11 starts, but was 0-5 with a 6.26 ERA in his last six outings.
Having Cingrani in the bullpen leaves the Reds thin on rotation depth, and could be an issue when a doubleheader vs. the Cubs comes on July 8.
"Tony can jump right back into the rotation, if we needed him to in the next couple of weeks," Price said. "If he's in this role long-term, we're going to need some step-up performances from our Double-A and Triple-A starters, so we have significant candidates if we need a starting pitcher at some point in time."
Reds activate Latos, place Marshall on DL
MILWAUKEE -- As expected, Mat Latos was activated off of the 60-day disabled list (knee, elbow surgeries) to take Tony Cingrani's spot in the rotation and start against the Brewers on Saturday night. But the corresponding roster move to make room for Latos on the roster did not affect Cingrani, after all.
It was lefty reliever Sean Marshall, who returned to the 15-day DL for the second time this season because of a left shoulder strain. The move, which is retroactive to Wednesday, is the latest in a series of shoulder issues Marshall has had since just before the 2013 season.
"On my best days, I feel like I'm 80 percent of who I used to be," Marshall said. "I feel like I just can't quite get back to my old self."
The Reds previously activated Marshall on April 19, but he wasn't as effective as he had been in 2012, his first season for the club.
In 15 games, totaling 14 1/3 innings, Marshall had a 7.71 ERA with 23 hits, 12 earned runs, 12 walks and 14 strikeouts. His fastball velocity has been down in the low-to-mid 80s, from its usual upper 80s and 90 mph. He retired only five of 15 first batters faced and allowed five of his 11 inherited runners scored.
"You see that it's not just the results, but the stuff hasn't been great," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's just not getting where it needs to be for him to get back to being the guy he's been.
"He's really battled this issue for a while now, so I think we're going to try to go back to square one and reassess and see if there's been any changes in the shoulder that would bring on this current soreness, if it's related to an old injury or it's something new, and reassess what options there are."
Marshall pitched back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday vs. the Dodgers for the first time this season.
"I threw a couple of fastballs to [Dee] Gordon there and the second one, I pulled up again. I felt that pinching soreness in the back of my shoulder. It's feeling better, but I'm not myself," Marshall said.
"We thought it was a good idea to try other things with my shoulder. I've tried a lot of things. I've tried acupuncture, creams and all sorts of stuff, and all the strengthening exercises you could think of. I feel like it's a good time with Mat coming off [the DL] and Tony being the long guy. I've lost some sleep thinking about some things, thinking about if I'm helping or hurting the bullpen."
Marshall, who is signed through 2015, is earning $5.5 million this season and is set to make $6.5 million next season. He is trying to avoid undergoing surgery as much as possible.
"That's the last thing that I want," Marshall said. "I've heard stories where you invade the shoulder, it just doesn't want to bounce back. It's a 50-50 chance that you're back to who you are again."