In the spate of injuries the Cincinnati Reds have suffered during the first-half of the 2014 season, one that still remains to be addressed is the addition of a quality left-handed reliever to replace Sean Marshall.
The Reds have relied on Manny Parra to become their primary lefty out of the bullpen to set up eighth-inning reliever Jonathan Broxton and closer Aroldis Chapman, but the 31-year-old Parra has hardly convinced the Reds that he’s the man for the job. Parra has a 3.96 ERA in 36 appearances and has seen his role reduced more and more to just that of left-handed specialist facing one or two batters.
So far, the Reds have done nothing more than to hope they can conjure some magic from the scrap heap of unwanted former major league lefties with the hope that one is convincing enough to warrant a promotion.
Southpaw Scott Diamond, once of the Minnesota Twins, has been added to the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats. He’ll join another down-and-out lefty in Louisville in Ryan Rowland-Smith. He’s thrown 9.1 innings in Louisville so far in his comeback bid. Diamond may remain a starter in the minors, but could convert to reliever if it means a trip back to the majors.
The Reds have also added Scott Maine to their Double-A team, but Maine hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and is less likely than either Diamond or Rowland-Smith to join the Reds at some point this year.
The Reds may be waiting to return former starter Tony Cingrani to the bullpen, but so far Cingrani is nowhere to be seen since he was demoted to Louisville and placed on the minor league disabled list with a shoulder issue.
The Reds do have a pair of other left-handed reliever possibilities at Louisville in David Holmberg and Ryan Dennick (2.54 ERA in 39 innings). Holmberg made a spot start for the Reds this year, but the 22-year-old, who was acquired by trade in the offseason, showed little to suggest that he’s ready to leave the minor leagues.