By HAL McCOY
With all the available spots on the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation, Amir Garrett grabbed the baseball by the seams Monday afternoon and said, “Hey, look at me.”
And the Reds will look at a lot of options after disturbing news Monday that projected Opening Day starter Anthony DeSclafani has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
He’ll be shut down for at least a month and then re-evaluated with Tommy John surgery a possibility on the horizon if he doesn’t respond to treatment.
THE 6-FOOT-5, 228-POUND lefthanded Garrett and former St. John’s University basketball player, pitched a near-perfect four innings Monday against the Oakland Athletics — and it wasn’t his fault it wasn’t perfect.
He faced 13 batters and only one reached base and that was on an error by first baseman Ryan Raburn.
He retired the other 12, three via strikeouts to state a strong case for rotation inclusion.
GARRETT, a 22ND-ROUND pick (685th overall) in 2011 has been a steady performer all spring. He has made four appearances over 11 1/3 innings and has given up one earned run (six overall). He has given up only nine hits (seven in one appearances), walked two and struck out nine.
And he probably has filled out a strong NCAA basketball bracket.
GARRETT WAS FOLLOWED by a parade of successful pitching as the Reds held the A’s to two hits in a 3-1 victory, one of the hits a home run with two outs in the ninth inning.
On this day the Reds received solid pitching up and down the line.
Jimmy Herget pitched a scoreless fifth with one hit, Nick Routt pitched a 1-2-3 sixth with two strikeouts, Kevin Shackelford pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and Jackson Stephens pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with a strikeout.
After eight innings the Athletics had no runs and one hit, but scored a run on one hit in the ninth off Keury Mella, a two-out home run by Chris Parmelee.
INFIELDER BRADON DIXON also continues to make an impression. He drove in all three runs Monday with a sacrifice fly and a two-run home run, his second home run in two days.
Dixon, 25, is a non-roster invitee to camp after he was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox.
Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler also were acquired in that trade and both are projected as starters — Peraza at second base and Schebler in right field.
It isn’t likely that Dixon will crack the 25-man roster but it never hurts to make a solid impression during spring training in front of Reds manager Bryan Price and his staff.
Schebler has struggled so far this spring (.182), opening the door for rookie Jesse Winker. After going 0 for 7 this spring in his first three games, Winker singled in his first at bat, walked and scored two runs Monday and in his last eight games he is 9 for 15 (.600).