CINCINNATI – March 30, 2023 – Tony Hounshell – BSN
Opening day is alwyas special in Cincy. That said, the Reds and Pirates get it going on Thursday.
Here are your 2023 Reds:
First base (1): Jason Vosler
With Votto beginning the season on the injured list, Vosler made the team as a non-roster player. The 39-year-old Votto could be back soon, after a rehab assignment with Louisville, as he completes his comeback from shoulder surgery. That will begin on Friday.
Second base (1): Jonathan India
There was never any doubt, here. India came to camp looking lean and more mobile. In the latter portion of Cactus League games, he started hitting the ball harder and getting more results.
Shortstop (2): Jose Barrero, Kevin Newman
After a slow start, Barrero’s offseason hitting adjustments finally clicked and he delivered more consistent results. He will be the starter on Opening Day, but expect Newman to play there, as well as get time at second base and third base.
Third base (1): Spencer Steer
Steer produced a very nice camp, offensively. He had some defensive issues but nothing that can’t be cleaned up.
Outfielders (4): Wil Myers, Jake Fraley, TJ Friedl, Will Benson, Stuart Fairchild
Benson earned his way on the team with a productive camp. Fairchild was already optioned to Triple-A Louisville as a camp cut but was brought back. Henry Ramos had a much better spring while batting .448 with two homers but was not on the 40-man roster. Vosler needed to be added and there wasn’t enough space to also add Ramos.
The Reds will rotate the designated hitter spot among many regulars and their bench. With Chad Pinder being a camp cut, the Reds don’t have a true utility player on the 26-man roster.
Starting pitchers (5): Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Connor Overton, Luis Cessa
Overton and Cessa won the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Overton was able to overcome a poor start and dialed himself in just in time. Cessa returned early from the World Baseball Classic and showed he would be ready to start.
Relief pitchers (8): Alexis Díaz (CL), Buck Farmer, Reiver Sanmartin, Fernando Cruz, Alex Young, Ian Gibaut, Derek Law, Joel Kuhnel
The final decision was to keep Kuhnel and option left-hander Bennett Sousa to Louisville. Kuhnel got the nod, in part, because the club is more familiar with him, since he’s been with the team since 2019. The Reds also already had two lefties in Sanmartin and Young.
Catcher (3): Tyler Stephenson, Curt Casali, Luke Maile
Having three catchers enables Stephenson to get injury protection but will also free him to play first base and be the designated hitter to keep him in the lineup more often. The club is hoping he can play 140-150 games.