Tony Cingrani exits start with lower back strain

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Reds starter Tony Cingrani left Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks in the top of the fourth inning with what is being called a lower back strain.

The 24-year-old left-hander allowed one run on two hits and a walk before being lifted with two outs in the fourth. Alfredo Simon entered in relief.

A lower back strain is not a serious injury, but Cingrani seems likely to miss at least one turn in the Cincinnati starting rotation and the Reds don’t have many attractive options for replacing him. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer suspects that right-hander Greg Reynolds, who pitched Tuesday afternoon for Triple-A Louisville, might get a look.

Cingrani has posted a 2.76 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 112/39 K/BB ratio in 97 2/3 innings (16 starts and five relief appearances) this season for the Reds. Cincy is currently third in the National League Central standings.

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UPDATE, 10:10 p.m. ET: Cingrani told Rosecrans that he expects to make his next scheduled start.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.