Reds to employ 6-man pitching rotation come September?

Bryan Price’s hopes of gauging the progress of young pitching prospects such as Amir Garrett and Cody Reed and Rookie Davis hinge on one key aspect – finding room in the starting rotation for them to actually pitch.

The Reds’ glut of possible starting pitchers have Price pondering the possibility of deploying a six-man rotation after active rosters are expanded on Sept. 1.

»RELATED: Mahle ‘poised’ in debut, but Reds fall

The Reds already had five slots filled with Homer Bailey, Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson, Luis Castillo and Asher Wojciechowski – all right-handers – and that was before rookie Tyler Mahle made his debut on Sunday. Davis and the left-handed Garrett and Reed have spent most of this season at Triple-A Louisville.

Price said before Sunday’s game that he’d been looking for ways to squeeze together all of the pieces of the puzzle.

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“Maybe one time through the rotation or maybe periodically to get a look at some of the young guys in September,” he said. “Inevitably, Castillo and Mahle will run out of innings in September. That would necessitate two pitchers from the system going into the rotation. We don’t know exactly who that is yet. There also might be an opportunity to plug somebody in to give everybody an extra days’ rest. We have every Monday off except one, and when we don’t have Monday the 4th off, that’ll be 13 straight (games), so there would be an opportunity to plug somebody in there.”

First impression: Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was impressed with Reds rookie right-hander Luis Castillo just based on scouting reports and videos. Seeing him live did nothing to change Hurdle’s opinion.

Castillo allowed three hits and one run with one walk while tying his career high with nine strikeouts in seven innings of Cincinnati’s 1-0 loss to the Pirates on Saturday.

“He was impressive,” Hurdle said Sunday morning. “That’s the beautiful thing about watching a kid in a game and having a dugout view versus a video. His stuff looked good on video, but it did It looked way better from the dugout. We had seen him elevate the ball with a lot more regularity, whether it was by design or not. One of our goals was to look down. He didn’t spend a lot of time up (Saturday night) The fastball was real with finish and the breaking ball was really effective and sharp. He threw some change ups a well – the rhythm the pace. He’s a good-looking pitching prospect.”

No surprise: If Louisville manager Delino DeShields and pitching coach Jeff Fassero hoped to surprise Mahle on Saturday that the Reds planned to promote him to start on Sunday, they didn’t cover all of their bases.

When Mahle arrived at the Toledo version of Fifth Third Field for his scheduled start Saturday, he noticed an unfamiliar name listed in pace of his on the lineup. Former Dayton Dragons right-hander Wendolyn Bautista had been promoted from High-A Daytona to start. Mahle immediately sought out Fassero and DeShields to clear up the confusion.

“They had to spill the beans a little early,” Mahle said after arriving at Great American Ball Park on Saturday night.

Mets next: Reds: After Monday’s off day, the New York Mets become the last National League team to visit Great American Ball Park for the first time this season when they arrive for a three-game series starting on Tuesday. Rookie right-hander Sal Romano, who’s logged a career-high seven innings in each of his last two starts, will make his 11th career appearance and start and first against New York. The Reds have not seen the Mets yet this season.

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