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.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.