Cingrani appears lock to join Reds’ rotation
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tim Hudson extended his spring training scoreless streak to five innings, Pablo Sandoval homered to lead off a three-run fifth and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 Thursday.
Hudson, who didn’t allow a hit in two scoreless innings against Arizona in his first start as a Giant on March 2, again looked good in his comeback from a fractured ankle while with Atlanta in July.
He walked two and struck out three in three innings and helped himself defensively by starting a double play after he walked the leadoff man in the first.
Left-hander Tony Cingrani pitched three scoreless innings in his start for the Reds. Sandoval’s homer and run-scoring hits by Juan Perez and Angel Pagan came against right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.
Reds: It appears that Cingrani has all but clinched a spot in the team’s starting rotation.
The 24-year-old had another solid effort against the Giants, pitching three hitless scoreless innings while walking three and striking out three. In two starts, he has given up just one hit in five scoreless innings.
In his first full season in the major leagues in 2013, he pitched in 26 games (18 starts) and posted a 7-4 record with a 2.87 ERA.
“He has a stronger feel for his slider and his change-up and his change-up was excellent,” said Reds first-year manager Bryan Price, who was the Reds pitching coach for four seasons before taking over the team. “He will be one of our five starters.”
Giants: Hudson didn’t appear as sharp as he did against Arizona, but said his push toward the regular season continues to be a work in progress.
“The last (third) inning today, I think I turned a corner and made pitches on both sides of the plate,” said Hudson, who signed a two-year, $23 million free-agent deal in the offseason.
“It’s been eight months since the surgery and it (ankle) feels good, all things considered. I didn’t think about it (in the first inning) when I got the ground ball and threw (to second base). The double play was a pretty good test for it.”
The Giants’ five projected starters have combined for 20 innings, allowing just one run and 11 hits and three walks in seven games this spring.
Reds: Right-hander Mike Leake, scratched from Sunday’s start due to an abdominal injury, is scheduled to take the mound against the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
Right-hander Mat Latos (right elbow surgery in October and left knee surgery a few weeks ago), threw his first bullpen of the spring on Wednesday and is scheduled to throw another on Saturday.
Giants: Second baseman Marco Scutaro likely won’t play in a game this weekend as first thought. Manager Bruce Bochy wants to be cautious as the veteran deals with back issues.
SANDOVAL HEATING UP
Sandoval continues to show signs that he is ready for a big year after losing about 30 pounds over the winter. He is hitting .308 with a home run and five RBIs.
“He is really, really athletic. He is an athlete whether he’s 20 pounds lighter or 20 pounds heavier,” Hudson said.
GIANTS PLAYER MOVES
The Giants made player moves Thursday. They optioned first baseman Angel Villalona, who was on the 40-man roster, to Triple-A Fresno. Sent to the team’s minor-league camp were pitchers Clayton Blackburn, Ty Blach, Chris Heston, Jose Casilla, Kyle Crick, Sandy Rosario and Rafael Dolis. Also, infielder Joe Panik, outfielders Mac Williamson and Javier Herrera, and catchers Jeff Arnold and Ben Turner.