By HAL McCOY
While the 1962 New York Mets were in the dubious process of losing 120 games in the team’s first year of existence, manager/comedian Casey Stengel aske facetiously, “Can anybody here play this game?”
So far during spring exhibition games this year the mantra for the Cincinnati Reds is, “Can anybody here pitch?”
THE COMPETITION FOR available spots in the five-man Reds rotation was reduced by two Tuesday morning and it seems it is a matter of attrition.
Nobody is pitching their way into the rotation. They are pitching their way out of it.
Tim Adleman and Sal Romano were optioned to Class AAA Louisville, leaving four competitors for two spots.
It appears that 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo has pulled off the improbable. It never was impossible for Arroyo because, well, he’s Bronson Arroyo.
After missing nearly two years with injuries, Arroyo convinced the Reds to take a chance on him this spring. The Reds agreed, a fortuitous decision after starters Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani fell by the wayside, unavailable at the start of the season.
ARROYO PITCHED IN A a minor league game Tuesday and threw 73 pitches. Reports out of Goodyear say Arroyo will remain in Arizona when the team departs Wednesday and pitch in a minor league game Sunday.
If all goes well, he probably will face the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis a week from Friday.
LEFT IN THE BATTLE for the other two spots is Rookie Davis, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson.
Adleman punched his ticket to Triple-A by giving up six runs, seven hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings in his last start. Romano was the most impressive of the bunch, despite giving up seven runs (five earned), nine hits and no walks over 4 2/3 innings in his last appearance, but he is eliminated. For now. He’ll be back.
THE SURVIVORS DID NOT dazzle in their last opportunities. Cody Reed gave up 10 runs, 10 hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings and could start the season in the bullpen. Amir Garrett gave up six runs, seven hits and three walks in his last showing. Rookie Davis gave up five runs (three earned) and six hits over 4 2/3 innings. Robert Stephenson gave up four runs, six hits and two walks over four innings.
MEANWHILE OPENING DAY starter Scott Feldman acquitted himself well Tuesday against a Los Angeles Dodgers split squad team that contained only one regular, Chase Utley.
Feldman gave up two runs and four hits over 5 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out four. His only problem surfaced in the second inning when he gave up a double to Rob Segedin and a two-out home run to Cody Bellinger.
The Reds, using their Opening Day line except for second baseman Jose Peraza and catcher Tucker Barnhart, shed a three-game losing streak with a 9-3 win.
In addition to optioning Adleman and Romano, the Reds sent Hernan Iribarren and Tony Renda to minor league camp for re-assignment.
The shedding of Iribarren and Renda probably means Arismendy Alcantara will be included on the 25-man roster.
NOT ONLY IS ALCANTARA out of options, he has played his way onto the roster. He hit a home run in the second inning Tuesday and is leading the team in spring home runs with four, in runs scored with 16 and in RBI with 16. He had two hits to lift his average to .297.
If the Reds don’t keep him, they would have to put him on waivers and any team could pick him up.
Adam Duvall had three hits, two of them home runs, and drove in four runs.
The Reds raked the Dodgers for 13 hits, including two each by Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart.
And the Reds added a player Tuesday when they acquired 26-year-old second baseman Scooter Gennett and his $2.225 million contract off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.