GOODYEAR, Ariz, -- One of the few negatives associated with lefty pitcher Tony Cingrani's rookie 2013 season was back injuries. In August, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list and missed two starts with a lower back strain. The injury flared up a second time in the middle of a Sept. 10 game and ended his season.
It turned out that Cingrani was having back trouble for three weeks before he informed the club. Former manager Dusty Baker and then-pitching coach and current manager Bryan Price let Cingrani know that keeping his injury a secret wasn't acceptable.
"First of all, we have a responsibility to go out there and win games for the Reds and take the field prepared," Price said Monday. "No. 2, you have the best in the business in the clubhouse to get you ready to take the field feeling good. Don't keep an injury or a nagging problem to yourself. I think anymore, if you're not ready to play, we have the people to help you get ready to play."
Cingrani, 24, was 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA last season in 23 games, including 18 starts, mostly while filling in for an injured Johnny Cueto. He is expected to be a full-time member of the rotation this season.
"You're not soft by going in [the training room] on the days you need some attention from the trainers," Price said. "I think he was trying to be that rookie that wasn't seen lingering in the training room. I appreciate that but I think it set him back."
Feeling strong, Ludwick comes early to Reds camp
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick's surgically repaired right shoulder wasn't back to 100 percent, he estimated, until the end of December.
But the key thing for Ludwick is that it's 100 percent now.
"The good thing is I've been crushing my legs because I wasn't able to lift upper body until Nov. 6. It's helped my base and my core a lot," Ludwick said. "It feels good to be strong again."
Ludwick, 35, was the latest position player who reported to Spring Training early Monday. The full squad isn't required to be in camp until Wednesday.
Expected to be a key run producer in the middle of the lineup last year after he signed a two-year, $15 million contract, Ludwick's season was wrecked on Opening Day. He separated his shoulder sliding headfirst into third base vs. the Angels.
The injury required surgery to repair a torn labrum and four months on the disabled list to rehab. After Ludwick returned in August, he batted .240 with only two home runs and 12 RBIs in 129 at-bats over 38 games. It was a big loss for the offense after he had 26 homers and 80s RBIs in 2012.
"I think a lot of people don't understand that you come off of surgery, you rehab for four months, you're not going to be as strong as you are the following year," Ludwick said. "I kept telling people around me that they don't understand that. I've been through surgeries and you're never back feeling good until a year post-op."
With his body healed and in shape, Ludwick expects to produce again for the Reds.
"I guess one of the positive things is I got a lot of rest last year, my body did," he said. "And I didn't need any motivation this year to get into good shape. Any time the game is taken away from you, you kind of get a little bit more hungry. It was a good offseason."
Reds pitchers doing well on health front
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Through the first four days of Spring Training, the Reds haven't had to hold many pitchers back from full participation. The exceptions have been Mat Latos, who had left knee surgery Friday on the first day of camp, and Jonathan Broxton, who is on a modified throwing program as he comes back from August forearm surgery.
"We're in really good shape," manager Bryan Price said Monday.
The Reds are also making sure they don't overload lefty reliever Sean Marshall, who missed most of last season with shoulder tendinitis.
"I want to make sure he's fully strong because of the shoulder," Price said. "The strength in the shoulder is good. We had a little bit more conservative offseason for him so he had more time on the front end to get his shoulder strong before he got too deep into his throwing. I don't want to see him on work overload on the front end of Spring Training. He's 100 percent but a guy that I watch."