MLB Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds Starter Tony Cingrani On Track for Return from DL

Cincinnati Reds, Tony Cingrani

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If the Cincinnati Reds can keep southpaw Tony Cingrani healthy enough to return for a May 17 start against the Philadelphia Phillies, they will have pulled off quite a move.

Cingrani was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore shoulder after his last start on April 30. Due to off days, the Reds have been able to work around Cingrani’s spot in the rotation without needing to bring up a spot starter from the minors.

The core four-man rotation of ace Johnny Cueto, Aflredo Simon, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake have shouldered the load with normal rest due to the three scattered off-days that have enabled the Reds to cover Cingrani’s absence.

So far, Cingrani has only thrown a light bullpen session, but the expectation is that he will not require a rehab start in the minors. Should the plan not pan out for Cingrani to return quite so soon, then the Reds would have to resort to a backup plan that could mean Reds fan will get their first look at a 40-man roster starter like the underachieving Daniel Corcino or David Holmberg.

The Reds could opt for veteran washed-up pitchers like Chien-Ming Wang or Jeff Francis, but the team is probably better off not using either Wang or Francis unless the injury to Cingrani is more severe than expected and he would be in jeopardy of missing several starts.

If Cingrani does in fact return as expected, then the Reds would be in a position to mercifully demote either Nick Christiani and his 5.54 ERA or J.J. Hoover and his even worse ERA of a whopping 10.03.

Robb Hoff is a Cincinnati Reds writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NFLNostradamus, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.