Reds lefty Tony Cingrani would like to remain in the rotation once Mat Latos comes off of the disabled list. A good start could help his cause on Thursday at Chase Field, where the Reds open a four-game series against Josh Collmenter and the D-backs.
When Latos returns, it seems likely that either Cingrani or Alfredo Simon will have to shift to the bullpen.
"We'll obviously have to make a decision when Mat makes it through his rehab," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "There will be a multitude of factors that go into it. Alfredo and Tony are two completely different guys, as far as experience and background of pitching out of the bullpen and development."
Certainly some improved results would be good for Cingrani.
Cingrani was on the disabled list with mild shoulder tendinitis through the first 18 days of May and he has struggled in two starts since returning, going 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA. Last time out against the Cardinals, Cingrani allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings.
"He's not vintage yet," Price said after that game. "His velocity isn't back to where it was in his opening start and what we're used to seeing, but he's managing his offspeed pitches better."
Collmenter, meanwhile, has been his usual steady, if not spectacular, self.
The right-hander began the year in the bullpen, but after the Arizona rotation struggled mightily in the early going, Collmenter was shifted to the rotation.
Last time out against the Mets, it took Collmenter 29 pitches to get through the first inning, but in typical Collmenter fashion, he somehow found a way to last six innings and not overtax the bullpen, which had to be prepared for a doubleheader the next day.
"I went out there and threw the ball down in the zone," Collmenter said. "I had a lot of quick outs later on, and that helped out after blowing through so many pitches in the first inning. With the doubleheader coming up, you never want to put the bullpen in a compromising situation."
Reds: Lutz may see time vs. D-backs
In his first start in the big leagues this season, Donald Lutz played first base Tuesday and went 2-for-4 vs. the Dodgers' Zack Greinke with a double and run scored.
Although Arizona will feature three straight right-handed pitchers in the first three games of the series, Price did not commit to starting the lefty-hitting Lutz. The Reds have had a void at first base, with Joey Votto on the disabled list with a left quad strain.
"I think he'll play, how much he'll play, I don't know exactly," Price said of Lutz. "With Joey out, it does free up some opportunities and playing time at first base. I love what Brayan Pena brings to the club every day he's in the lineup. It's not like there is a glaring hole in our lineup where it's easy to stick Donald into that."
D-backs: Tough stretch for Pennington
First Cliff Pennington, who was battling a cold, was forced into duty during Sunday's doubleheader when second baseman Aaron Hill injured his right ankle.
Then Pennington had a chance to start two games in a row at shortstop for the first time this year, but he had to be scratched from the starting lineup due to a sore left thumb, which he suffered when the Padres' Everth Cabrera slid into him at second base.
• D-backs slugger Paul Goldschmidt is fifth in the All-Star voting among National League first basemen.
• Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips ranked third in the voting, while catcher Devin Mesoraco is fifth.
• The Reds have had 12 players on the disabled list this year. Currently they have five players on the DL (Jack Hannahan, Latos, Brett Marshall, Trevor Bell and Votto).
• The D-backs won two of three against the Reds at Chase Field last season, while the Reds were 3-1 against them at Great American Ball Park.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.