Reds stymied by rotation issues again as season opens


By Joe Kay - AP Sports Writer



Cincinnati Reds' Arismendy Alcantara (30) rounds third base after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during a baseball game in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 25, 2017. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)


Cincinnati Reds' Robert Stephenson pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


2017 Cincinnati Reds Schedule

By The Associated Press

All Times EDT

April 3 Philadelphia, 4:10 p.m.

April 5 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.

April 6 Philadelphia, 12:35 p.m.

April 7 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

April 8 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

April 9 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

April 10 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

April 11 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

April 12 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

April 13 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

April 14 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

April 15 Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m.

April 16 Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m.

April 18 Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.

April 19 Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.

April 20 Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.

April 21 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

April 22 Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m.

April 23 Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m.

April 24 at Milwaukee, 7:40 p.m.

April 25 at Milwaukee, 7:40 p.m.

April 26 at Milwaukee, 1:40 p.m.

April 28 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

April 29 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

April 30 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

May 1 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

May 2 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

May 3 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

May 4 Pittsburgh, 12:35 p.m.

May 5 San Francisco, 6:40 p.m.

May 6 San Francisco, 7:10 p.m.

May 7 San Francisco, 4:10 p.m.

May 8 N.Y. Yankees, 7:10 p.m.

May 9 N.Y. Yankees, 7:10 p.m.

May 11 at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.

May 12 at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.

May 13 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

May 14 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

May 16 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

May 17 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

May 18 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

May 19 Colorado, 7:10 p.m.

May 20 Colorado, 4:10 p.m.

May 21 Colorado, 1:10 p.m.

May 22 Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.

May 23 Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.

May 24 at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

May 25 at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

May 26 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

May 27 at Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m.

May 28 at Philadelphia, 1:35 p.m.

May 29 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

May 30 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

May 31 at Toronto, 12:37 p.m.

June 2 Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.

June 3 Atlanta, 4:10 p.m.

June 4 Atlanta, 1:10 p.m.

June 5 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

June 6 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

June 7 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

June 8 St. Louis, 12:35 p.m.

June 9 at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.

June 10 at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.

June 11 at L.A. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.

June 12 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

June 13 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

June 14 at San Diego, 3:40 p.m.

June 16 L.A. Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.

June 17 L.A. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.

June 18 L.A. Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.

June 19 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

June 20 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

June 21 at Tampa Bay, 12:10 p.m.

June 23 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.

June 24 at Washington, 4:05 p.m.

June 25 at Washington, 1:35 p.m.

June 27 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

June 28 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

June 29 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

June 30 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

July 1 Chicago Cubs, 4:10 p.m.

July 2 Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m.

July 3 at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.

July 4 at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.

July 5 at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.

July 6 at Colorado, 3:10 p.m.

July 7 at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.

July 8 at Arizona, 10:10 p.m.

July 9 at Arizona, 4:10 p.m.

July 14 Washington, 7:10 p.m.

July 15 Washington, 7:10 p.m.

July 16 Washington, 1:10 p.m.

July 17 Washington, 12:35 p.m.

July 18 Arizona, 7:10 p.m.

July 19 Arizona, 7:10 p.m.

July 20 Arizona, 12:35 p.m.

July 21 Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 22 Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 23 Miami, 1:10 p.m.

July 25 at N.Y. Yankees, 7:05 p.m.

July 26 at N.Y. Yankees, 1:05 p.m.

July 27 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 28 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 29 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 30 at Miami, 1:10 p.m.

Aug. 1 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 2 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 3 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 4 St. Louis, 6:40 p.m.

Aug. 5 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 6 St. Louis, 1:10 p.m.

Aug. 7 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 8 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 9 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 10 San Diego, 12:35 p.m.

Aug. 11 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 12 at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 13 at Milwaukee, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 14 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

Aug. 15 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

Aug. 16 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

Aug. 17 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

Aug. 18 at Atlanta, 7:35 p.m.

Aug. 19 at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 20 at Atlanta, 1:35 p.m.

Aug. 22 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 23 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 24 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 25 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 26 Pittsburgh, 6:40 p.m.

Aug. 27 Pittsburgh, 1:10 p.m.

Aug. 29 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 30 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 31 N.Y. Mets, 12:35 p.m.

Sept. 1 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 2 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 3 at Pittsburgh, 1:35 p.m.

Sept. 4 Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 5 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 6 Milwaukee, 12:35 p.m.

Sept. 7 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 8 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 9 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 10 at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 12 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 13 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 14 at St. Louis, 1:45 p.m.

Sept. 15 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 16 Pittsburgh, 4:10 p.m.

Sept. 17 Pittsburgh, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 19 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 20 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 21 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 22 Boston, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 23 Boston, 4:10 p.m.

Sept. 24 Boston, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 26 at Milwaukee, 7:40 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 29 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

Sept. 30 at Chicago Cubs, 4:05 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Chicago Cubs, 3:20 p.m.

CINCINNATI (AP) — With opening day less than a week away, Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price still had some big holes to fill on his roster.

“We have three undefined starters, two undefined bullpen spots and probably three undefined bench spots,” Price said.

But in the Reds’ realm, that marks progress.

“We have less ambiguity on the roster,” Price said.

The Reds are further along than a year ago, when they opened the season with five injured starters and an untested bullpen. They never fully recovered from the pitching staff’s implosion in the first half, finishing last in the NL Central while losing 94 games in the second year of their rebuilding.

The club Tuesday claimed utility infielder Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Milwaukee.

Their biggest offseason acquisition was closer Drew Storen to anchor their historically bad bullpen, giving him a one-year, $3 million deal. They signed Scott Feldman to help fill out the rotation, and he wound up with the opening day start when injuries struck again. If the Reds’ starting pitching can hold its own, they’re expecting to take a step forward overall.

When they got their injured starters back in the second half last season, they finished 36-37. If the rotation can hold its own while Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey recover from their latest injuries, the Reds should be much more competitive.

“We have a chance to be way better than people are expecting,” shortstop Zack Cozart said.

Some things to watch as the season unfolds:

ROOKIE WATCH: The Reds traded veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips to Atlanta — and agreed to pay most of his salary — to open a spot for 22-year-old Jose Peraza to play regularly. He was their most impressive rookie last season, batting .324 in 72 games with three homers and 25 RBIs. His development will be worth watching.

SORE ARMS: DeSclafani misses the opening day start for the second straight year, this time with a sore elbow. Bailey had surgery to remove elbow spurs and isn’t expected back until June. The Reds were counting on them to anchor the front of the rotation. Their rehabilitation will be the main off-field focus in the first two months.

BULLPEN 2.0: If Storen can fill the closer role, it’ll bring stability to a bullpen that allowed a major league record 103 homers last season and managed only 28 saves in 53 chances. The Reds chose to open last season without a proven closer and it was a major factor in their early implosion.

MESORACO’S RETURN: Catcher Devin Mesoraco had hip surgery for the second time last year, resulting in another lost season. He was an All-Star in 2014, when he put up the best numbers by a Reds catcher since Johnny Bench — 25 homers, 80 RBIs. Shoulder and hip operations have essentially wiped out his last two seasons. The Reds went slowly with him during spring training and are hoping to be able to use him in a limited role during the season.

ONE TRADE LEFT? After trading away the core of the team over the last two years, the Reds have one move to make during the season. Cozart is 31 years old and a year removed from reconstructive knee surgery. The Reds were willing to trade him in the offseason, but there wasn’t much interest. If he shows that his right knee is fully recovered and he’s able to play every day again, he could be dealt at midseason, essentially completing the roster overhaul.

___

AP freelance writer Gary Schatz in Goodyear, Arizona, contributed to this report.

Cincinnati Reds’ Arismendy Alcantara (30) rounds third base after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during a baseball game in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 25, 2017. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/03/web1_115742516-da97d67015ba4c998310254618cac263.jpgCincinnati Reds’ Arismendy Alcantara (30) rounds third base after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during a baseball game in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 25, 2017. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Cincinnati Reds’ Robert Stephenson pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/03/web1_115742516-73cc6418dc0940f6a39d3443a27bc69e.jpgCincinnati Reds’ Robert Stephenson pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By Joe Kay

AP Sports Writer

2017 Cincinnati Reds Schedule

By The Associated Press

All Times EDT

April 3 Philadelphia, 4:10 p.m.

April 5 Philadelphia, 7:10 p.m.

April 6 Philadelphia, 12:35 p.m.

April 7 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

April 8 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

April 9 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

April 10 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

April 11 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

April 12 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

April 13 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

April 14 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

April 15 Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m.

April 16 Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m.

April 18 Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.

April 19 Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.

April 20 Baltimore, 7:10 p.m.

April 21 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

April 22 Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m.

April 23 Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m.

April 24 at Milwaukee, 7:40 p.m.

April 25 at Milwaukee, 7:40 p.m.

April 26 at Milwaukee, 1:40 p.m.

April 28 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

April 29 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

April 30 at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

May 1 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

May 2 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

May 3 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

May 4 Pittsburgh, 12:35 p.m.

May 5 San Francisco, 6:40 p.m.

May 6 San Francisco, 7:10 p.m.

May 7 San Francisco, 4:10 p.m.

May 8 N.Y. Yankees, 7:10 p.m.

May 9 N.Y. Yankees, 7:10 p.m.

May 11 at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.

May 12 at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m.

May 13 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

May 14 at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

May 16 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

May 17 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

May 18 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

May 19 Colorado, 7:10 p.m.

May 20 Colorado, 4:10 p.m.

May 21 Colorado, 1:10 p.m.

May 22 Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.

May 23 Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.

May 24 at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

May 25 at Cleveland, 6:10 p.m.

May 26 at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

May 27 at Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m.

May 28 at Philadelphia, 1:35 p.m.

May 29 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

May 30 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

May 31 at Toronto, 12:37 p.m.

June 2 Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.

June 3 Atlanta, 4:10 p.m.

June 4 Atlanta, 1:10 p.m.

June 5 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

June 6 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

June 7 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

June 8 St. Louis, 12:35 p.m.

June 9 at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.

June 10 at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.

June 11 at L.A. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.

June 12 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

June 13 at San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

June 14 at San Diego, 3:40 p.m.

June 16 L.A. Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.

June 17 L.A. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.

June 18 L.A. Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.

June 19 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

June 20 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

June 21 at Tampa Bay, 12:10 p.m.

June 23 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.

June 24 at Washington, 4:05 p.m.

June 25 at Washington, 1:35 p.m.

June 27 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

June 28 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

June 29 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

June 30 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

July 1 Chicago Cubs, 4:10 p.m.

July 2 Chicago Cubs, 1:10 p.m.

July 3 at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.

July 4 at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.

July 5 at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.

July 6 at Colorado, 3:10 p.m.

July 7 at Arizona, 9:40 p.m.

July 8 at Arizona, 10:10 p.m.

July 9 at Arizona, 4:10 p.m.

July 14 Washington, 7:10 p.m.

July 15 Washington, 7:10 p.m.

July 16 Washington, 1:10 p.m.

July 17 Washington, 12:35 p.m.

July 18 Arizona, 7:10 p.m.

July 19 Arizona, 7:10 p.m.

July 20 Arizona, 12:35 p.m.

July 21 Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 22 Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 23 Miami, 1:10 p.m.

July 25 at N.Y. Yankees, 7:05 p.m.

July 26 at N.Y. Yankees, 1:05 p.m.

July 27 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 28 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 29 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

July 30 at Miami, 1:10 p.m.

Aug. 1 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 2 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 3 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 4 St. Louis, 6:40 p.m.

Aug. 5 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 6 St. Louis, 1:10 p.m.

Aug. 7 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 8 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 9 San Diego, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 10 San Diego, 12:35 p.m.

Aug. 11 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 12 at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 13 at Milwaukee, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 14 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

Aug. 15 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

Aug. 16 at Chicago Cubs, 8:05 p.m.

Aug. 17 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

Aug. 18 at Atlanta, 7:35 p.m.

Aug. 19 at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 20 at Atlanta, 1:35 p.m.

Aug. 22 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 23 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 24 Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 25 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 26 Pittsburgh, 6:40 p.m.

Aug. 27 Pittsburgh, 1:10 p.m.

Aug. 29 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 30 N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 31 N.Y. Mets, 12:35 p.m.

Sept. 1 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 2 at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 3 at Pittsburgh, 1:35 p.m.

Sept. 4 Milwaukee, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 5 Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 6 Milwaukee, 12:35 p.m.

Sept. 7 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 8 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 9 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 10 at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 12 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 13 at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.

Sept. 14 at St. Louis, 1:45 p.m.

Sept. 15 Pittsburgh, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 16 Pittsburgh, 4:10 p.m.

Sept. 17 Pittsburgh, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 19 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 20 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 21 St. Louis, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 22 Boston, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 23 Boston, 4:10 p.m.

Sept. 24 Boston, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 26 at Milwaukee, 7:40 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.

Sept. 29 at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

Sept. 30 at Chicago Cubs, 4:05 p.m.

Oct. 1 at Chicago Cubs, 3:20 p.m.