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Reds notes: ‘Wojo’ joins battered bullpen


Rick Stowe set a personal record Saturday.

The Reds senior director of clubhouse operations — who’s worked for the team since 1981, when he started as a batboy under his father, Bernie — added the longest name of his career to a jersey when he placed “Wojciechowski” on the back of the camouflage tops Cincinnati wore against Colorado.

“My longest name,” the always-affable Stowe said as media entered the Reds’ Great American Ball Park clubhouse to learn more about new relief pitcher Asher Wojciechowski.

The Reds selected the contract of the 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-hander from Triple-A Louisville as a crutch for their battered bullpen. Cincinnati is Wojciechowski’s second major league team. He was 0-1 with a 7.16 earned-run average in 16 1/3 innings over five games, including three starts, with Houston in 2015.

The Arizona Diamondbacks released Wojciechowski, 28, in spring training, and he spent three weeks at home in South Carolina wondering about his future before the Reds called, looking for somebody to fill a slot in the Bats rotation.

“I was happy to get the opportunity,” he said. “I was home, throwing to guys at The Citadel and wondering what was going to happen.”

Wojciechowski pounced on the opportunity. He went 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 29 strikeouts with just six walks in 25 2/3 innings over five starts. Opponents were hitting .172 against him.

“I was attacking the strike zone – just going out and competing and throwing quality strikes,” he said. “I was leaving it all out there, every single pitch.”

That was the report received by manager Bryan Price.

“He competes in the strike zone,” Price said. “We’ve gotten good reviews about how he goes about attacking hitters. During his time with Louisville, he was throwing strikes.

“I’m happy for him because he got the opportunity and he seized the opportunity.”

Price admitted he still was learning how to spell his newest pitcher’s name.

“As he said, ‘Wojo’ works best, so I’ll go with that,” Price said.

The Bats were in the 17th inning of an 18-inning game early Saturday morning when Wojciechowski got the news about the promotion.

“I went into the clubhouse to get something to eat because I was starving,” he said. “(Trainer Steve Gober) trainer came in yelling at me that (manager Delino DeShields) needed me for something. I grabbed my cleats and went out there and (DeShields) asked me if I was good for an inning. I said, ‘Well, I threw a bullpen today, but sure.’ He looked at (pitching coach Jeff Fassero), who had kind of a smirk on his face, and he told me I was going to the big leagues.

“It was pretty crazy how they played that joke on me.”

Making room: The Reds moved right-handed pitcher Nefi Ogando, currently on a rehab assignment with Louisville while coming back from a strained right thumb, from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day list to make room on the 40-man roster for Wojciechowski. To create a slot on the 25-man active roster, the Reds placed catcher Stuart on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

Cingrani update: Left-handed relief pitcher Tony Cingrani, who’s been on the disabled list since April 21 with a strained right oblique, threw 20 pitches in the bullpen before Saturday’s game, Price said.

“He had zero issues with the oblique,” Price said. “(Sunday) is the day we hope he feels really good. If he does, then we can start looking at a rehab schedule. That doesn’t mean we’re going to send him out on a rehab assignment right away. We’ll want to extend him a little more in the bullpen first.”

Cingrani made five appearances before his injury, logging a 1.93 ERA over 4 2/3 innings.

Homer closer: Right-hander Homer Bailey threw two 15-pitch innings of simulated action in Goodyear, Ariz., on Friday, setting him up to most likely pitch in a camp game on Wednesday.

“If he were to show up with some stiffness on (Tuesday), we might have to push him back to (Thursday), but he’s been recovering well, so it’s likely he’ll pitch on (Wednesday),” Price said.

Bailey is working his way back from three surgical procedures on his right arm over the last 32 months, the latest an arthroscopic procedure to remove small bone spurs from his right elbow in February.

Series finale: Right-hander Bronson Arroyo (3-3, 6.31) is Cincinnati’s scheduled starter in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. game against the Rockies. Arroyo hasn’t faced Colorado since June 5, 2014, when he allowed six hits, including two home runs, and four runs in 6 1/3 innings and still got credit for the win in a 12-7 Diamondbacks victory.

Left-hander Kyle Freeland (4-2, 3.13) is due to start for the Rockies. Freeland is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in four road starts this season, and Colorado has won all four of those games.



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