Reds give Maholm chance at rotation

Published 4:25 am Tuesday, March 3, 2015

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Left-hander Paul Maholm is getting a chance to help the Cincinnati Reds piece together their depleted starting rotation.

The Reds signed Maholm to a minor league deal and invited him to training camp to see whether he could be a starter again after spending much of last season in the Dodgers bullpen. Before that, he was a starter with the Pirates, Cubs and Braves.

“Maholm played on some good teams in Atlanta and L.A., and we have a need for starting pitchers,” manager Bryan Price said.

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The Reds traded Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon in the offseason, leaving two openings for starters.

Plus, Homer Bailey is recovering from forearm surgery and won’t be ready to rejoin the rotation until at least mid-April.

Several young pitchers have the inside track on the openings, but Maholm and Jason Marquis were brought to camp as options. Marquis will start Cincinnati’s spring training opener on Tuesday against Cleveland in Goodyear.

“I signed with the Reds because it is an opportunity to compete, to get back into starting,” Maholm said. “I want to prove that I can do it.”

He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while covering first base against the Cubs on August 1, his first significant injury in the majors. He’s had no problems with it so far during camp.

“I am getting more comfortable,” he said. “My body feels good. The best way to put it, sitting out may have saved my arm a little.”

Maholm went 53-73 in seven seasons with Pittsburgh, 9-6 in one season with the Cubs, 14-16 in two years with Atlanta, and 1-5 last year with a 4.84 ERA in eight starts and 22 relief appearances for the Dodgers.

The Reds are hoping that Anthony DeSclafani, who was acquired from Miami as part of the trade for Latos, will fill one of the two open spots. Left-hander Tony Cingrani was sidelined for much of last season by a sore shoulder, but also has an inside track on a spot.

Maholm and Marquis provide proven options.

“There is also the experience factor,” Price said. “We still have a question mark on when Homer is going to be ready. We have a question mark on (two starters). I’m confident that the two Anthonys are going to be able to do the job and do it well, but we are going to need that type of depth. Right now, Paul is right in the middle of it.”

NOTES: 1B Joey Votto wasn’t on the list of players available for the Reds’ spring training opener on Tuesday against Cleveland. Votto has been doing a full range of activities as he recovers from strained muscles above his left knee that sidelined him for most of last season. … Marquis will oppose Cleveland’s Zack McAllister on Tuesday. … Nick Swisher (knees), Brandon Moss (hip) and Jason Kipnis (finger ligament) will be held out for Cleveland. “We haven’t said much about Swish and Mossy,’ Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t want them to think there’s a deadline. I just want them to get healthy. I haven’t looked past the third game, but Kip will probably play shortly after that.”