Soto Makes MLB Debut

Soto Makes Debut

Neftali Soto made an appearance late in the Reds game at Philadelphia for his MLB debut. The plan is for him to stay with the Reds for the remainder of the weekend before Johnny Cueto comes off the DL Monday to take his spot on the active roster. Tony Cingrani did a good job replacing Cueto for six turns through the rotation and will return to Louisville to continue developing as a starter.

Neftali Soto made his MLB debut after getting the call to provide a right-handed bat on the Reds bench. His stay figures to be short as the Reds are taking advantage of a rotation spot in the transition from Tony Cingrani who was sent back to Louisville to Johnny Cueto who is ready to return from the DL. Soto was hitting .269 with three homers in 33 games for the Bats this season.

This year Soto has been moved back to third base for almost half his action. Joey Votto's presence on the Reds most likely had some influence on that decision. Soto has performed extraordinarily well with the leather at first but that job has been committed to the 2010 MVP into the foreseeable future. The prospect has done better since returning to the hot corner, but still has a minor league lifetime fielding percentage below .900 at the position. He was originally drafted as a shortstop.

Meanwhile Cingrani returns to the Bats where he dominated for three appearances before the Cueto injury. He's currently sitting on a 2-0/3.27 ERA after six starts during the absence of the Reds ace. Comments made by manager Dusty Baker alluded to overly dependence on his fastball and the need to develop his secondary offerings further. These are MLB hitters he's facing and very capable of making a pitcher pay when he doesn't have confidence in his off-speed stuff. The OB% against Cingrani has been .217 in the first two innings compared to .365 in the 3rd/4th innings. The former Rice closer rocketed up the Reds system since they drafted him in the third round in 2011. He pitched for Billings in the Pioneer League that year and by the end of his second season he joined the Reds as an expansion call-up. He's one of the top-rated prospects in the Cincinnati system and figures prominently in their future plans. Now the 23 year-old southpaw has a clearer idea on improvements needed to remain a starter at the MLB level as he heads back to AAA.

Cueto is reportedly fine after recovering from a strained right lat muscle. He completed two rehab appearances at Dayton where he allowed one run in eight innings. Prior to the DL he was 1-0/2.60 ERA over seventeen innings in three starts with the Reds. The injury suffered was not considered serious, but it is the same muscle ailment that took him out of the divisional championship series during the first inning of Game 1 against the Giants last October.

So Cueto is back, Cingrani has returned to work on his game and Soto will enjoy some time with the Reds in the interim. He actually got his feet wet last night when he entered the Reds game against Philadelphia as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, but never got to bat. The Reds likely didn't go to the trouble of calling him up unless they had some plans to send him to the plate and his first MLB plate appearance could come as soon as today against the Phils.

Other Organizational News:

The Reds cruised to a 10-0 win in their second game of their series at the Phillies. Ryan Hanigan got the scoring started with a three-run homer in the second inning. Zach Cozart doubled home a run in the sixth and a four-run eighth inning rally with a sac fly by Jay Bruce and RBI hits by Todd Frazier and Donald Lutz blew the game open. Joey Votto capped off the scoring with a two-run home in the ninth. Votto had a stellar day at the plate by reaching all six times he stepped into the box, going 4-4 with two walks. Shin-soo Choo and Todd Frazier both reached safely three times with a couple of hits and a walk. Bruce contributed two hits to raise his average to .280 and Hanigan reached with a walk in addition to his homer. Bronson Arroyo was sharp and picked up the win by tossing seven-plus scoreless innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out six. Alfredo Simon entered in the eighth and finished off the shutout.

Louisville took a four-run lead with a three-run rally in the seventh and held on for a 6-5 win at Gwinnett. The Bats took a two-run lead in the third inning off RBI-hits by Henry Rodriguez and Felix Perez. Later Rodriguez broke a tie with a solo home run in the fifth. Denis Phipps singled home the first run in the seventh before a throwing error on a Rodriguez ground ball allowed Louisville to push two more across the plate. Phipps and Perez led the Bats with three hits each while Billy Hamilton had two hits, a walk, and scored twice. Kristopher Negron, Rodriguez, and Ray Chang contributed two hits apiece to the Bats attack. Greg Reynolds got the win from another quality start, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks across seven innings. The big right-hander is now 4-0/2.88 ERA on the season. Yohan Pino allowed a run in one-plus innings pitched, but still qualified for the save.

Pensacola allowed a single run in four consecutive innings in a 4-1 home loss to Mobile. The Wahoos took an early lead in the first inning after leadoff hitter Bryson Smith was hit by a pitch (for the eighth time this season). He moved around on a Luis Durango single before scoring on a Joe Mather sac fly. That would be the last time the fish crossed the plate in the contest as Durango and Michael Gilmartin both had two of their seven hits. Durango also reached with a walk. Ryan Dennick took the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits in five innings. Chris Manno and Wilken De La Rosa finished the game by combining for three scoreless frames.

Back-to-back home runs by Yorman Rodriguez and Steve Selsky in the eleventh inning gave Bakersfield a 5-2 win at Stockton. The Blaze had taken a lead earlier from a solo home run by Juan Silva in the fifth inning and tied the score later from an RBI-single by Juan Duran in the ninth. Marquez Smith had two hits and a walk in the game while scoring twice and Yovan Gonzalez stroked a couple of singles to raise his average to .311. James Allen had another nice outing and got no decision after limiting the Ports to one run on three hits in six innings. He lowered his ERA to 4.62 and it's down to 3.07 over all starts since he was tagged for ten runs in his first outing of the season. Wes Mugarian tossed two scoreless frames of relief and got the win. El'Hajj Muhammad retired the side in order in the final inning while striking out two and picking up the save.

Dayton swept a double-header at South Bend by scores of 6-3 and 3-1. In the first game the Dragons took a four-run lead after a three-run rally in the top of the fourth and held on for the win. They broke a scoreless tie with a run-scoring hit by Jesse Winker in the third and Joe Terry doubled in two before Winker singled him home in the next frame. Dayton added an unearned run on an error in the fifth before Terry singled home another one in the seventh and final inning. Terry made a splash in his second game back with the Dragons by stroking four hits and driving in three. Arias, Tanner Rahier, and Seth Mejias-Brean each had two hits. Winker reached safely from a single and two walks while Joe Hudson had a hit and a walk and Jeff Gelalich walked twice. Sal Romano got the win by allowing three runs off of five hits and two walks over five innings while striking out five. Ben Klimesh threw two scoreless innings for the save.

The Dragons took the lead off a three-run home run by Rahier in the seventh inning of the second game which was enough for the win. Dayton was held to five hits in the game with Arias reaching via a hit and walk. Wandy Peralta got his first win by allowing only one run off four hits and a walk in six-plus innings while striking out five. Andrew Chacin entered in the seventh and retired both batters faced for the save.

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