3/16/2014 8:23 P.M. ET
Cueto or Bailey to start Opening Day for Reds
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The assignment of starting Opening Day for the Reds had not been determined as of Sunday. However, manager Bryan Price has it narrowed down to two candidates: Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey.
Cincinnati opens the regular season on March 31 vs. the Cardinals.
"The whole thing really has been about health," Price said. "One thing we've had a challenge with this spring is keeping all of our guys on a regular schedule. Johnny is coming off a season where he made only a handful of starts compared to the other guys."
Complicating matters was that Bailey missed a start on Saturday because of a mild right groin strain. There is also Mat Latos, who has yet to get into a game after left knee surgery on Feb. 14.
"Before we made a commitment to any of them, I wanted to get through the bulk of Spring Training and make sure we were in good shape," Price said. "Certainly, there are only so many things we can do with the order. But I'd like to get through a little bit closer, probably through one more start."
Cueto has started the past two regular-season openers for Cincinnati. In 2012, he allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings for a win against the Marlins. In 2013, he gave up one run and three hits over seven innings and received a no-decision in a 3-1 loss to the Angels.
In the past four seasons, former manager Dusty Baker preferred to set up the rotation by splitting up the power pitchers with Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake. With Arroyo gone and lefty Tony Cingrani also being a power arm, separating pitchers isn't viewed as a priority.
"I think probably more importantly what you'd like are matchups against certain teams that you play," Price said. "That doesn't really serve a great purpose because it's something you can't really control a lot, No. 1. No. 2, you don't want to have certain pitchers avoid certain teams because I think it sends the wrong message if you have starting pitchers that historically have struggled against a certain team. Eventually, they've got to find their way to get through that lineup, so you've got to give them that opportunity."
Barring injuries or the unexpected, whatever order the Reds start with will likely carry through the first half. As pitching coach, Price preferred to use off-days as a means of skipping a starter so everyone gets an extra day of rest.
Price gets look at Frazier playing shortstop in game
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- During Saturday's 16-4 win over the Brewers, the Reds shifted Todd Frazier from his usual spot at third base to shortstop for three innings. Frazier was a shortstop in college but hadn't played the position in the big leagues since 2011.
Manager Bryan Price, who used Frazier at first base last week, wanted to get a look at him at shortstop -- just in case.
"We've rotated guys around a lot this spring and played [Ramon] Santiago in three different spots," Price said. "[Kris] Negron, [Chris] Nelson -- we've rotated them all over the place. It's really just to give them a chance to show what they can do. It at least gives us some understanding if we have any physical issues over the course of the year, who can do what, No. 1. And No. 2, they haven't been away from a position for too long without spending some time there.
"Now we can say [Frazier] last played short in Spring Training in 2014."
Frazier committed a fielding error while at shortstop in the win over Milwaukee. On Sunday, he was in the lineup as the designated hitter.
Cingrani runs out of gas in fifth inning of start
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds left-handed starter Tony Cingrani was cruising during his fourth start of spring on Sunday against the A's. After a two-run first inning, Cingrani retired 10 in a row.
It came apart during a three-run fifth for Oakland. Cingrani walked his first two batters, gave up a single, was charged with a balk that forced home a run and a wild pitch on a strikeout.
"In the fifth, my arm was dead. I haven't pitched that long since last year," said Cingrani, who was lifted after the wild pitch to Billy Burns as he reached his pitch limit.
Overall, Cingrani gave up five runs (three earned) and three hits over four-plus innings. He walked three and struck out four. The two unearned runs came in the first inning after Devin Mesoraco and Joey Votto dropped a foul ball by Derek Norris with two outs. Norris followed with a two-run double to the center-field fence.
"That happens. What are you going to do? You try to keep getting outs," Cingrani said. "The first inning, I was still overstriding like the last couple of outings, and then I found my mechanics in the second."
In his four spring starts, Cingrani has a 6.39 ERA with nine earned runs and 12 hits allowed over 12 2/3 innings. Most of the damage was done in his previous outing vs. the Giants when he gave up six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Reds manager Bryan Price felt it was understandable for Cingrani to get worn down during the game.
"Guys are starting to get stretched out, and going out and getting that up and down for the fifth inning," Price said. "He wasn't real sharp, so he had to throw more pitches than he typically does per inning, and he's going to tire himself out that way."