Reds Finally Have Pitching Overload





CINCINNATI—It wasn't that long ago that the Reds would have penciled two pitchers like lefthander Matt Maloney and righthander Sam LeCure into the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation going into spring training.

The Reds, whose signed-and-developed starters made a total of 107 starts from 2000-07, have been notoriously bad at developing starting pitching.

Now they have both Maloney, 27, and LeCure, 26, appearing to be on the brink of major league success. Both have been good in Triple-A for extended periods. Both have had some success in stints in the majors.

But no one is counting on either making the rotation out of spring training. That's because the Reds finally have some depth in the rotation.

The first three spots will go to Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto. Travis Wood, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake will compete for the fourth and fifth spots. And Maloney and LeCure?

"We'll get them ready as starters," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "They give us good depth. It's a good position to be in."

Maloney went 10-7, 3.34 for Triple-A Louisville last year. He had a 3.09 ERA in two emergency starts for Aaron Harang. Maloney went 2-2, 3.05 in a second stint with the Reds, with all of his nine appearances in the second stint coming in relief.

LeCure went 8-3, 3.67 in 98 innings at Louisville. He was called up in May to take Bailey's spot in the rotation to make his major league debut. He went 2-5, 4.50 in eight starts. He returned later in the year and was effective in relief, posting a 3.38 ERA in nine games. Maloney or LeCure could be in the mix for a bullpen spot, but the Reds look at them primarily as starters.

RED HOTS

• Gene Bennett, a senior special assistant to the GM since October 1992, announced his retirement. Bennett was with the Reds for 58 years. He began scouting in 1958 and was promoted to scouting supervisor in 1975. His signings include Reds Hall of Famers Don Gullett, Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo along with Jeff Russell, Charlie Leibrandt and Paul O'Neill.

• Billy Hamilton, the Reds' top positional prospect, split time between second base and shortstop last year at Rookie-level Billings. The plan this year is to play him every day at shortstop at low Class A Dayton.