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Reds' DeSclafani trying to end streak of significant injury

By GARY SCHATZ, Associated Press
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Anthony DeSclafani was pegged as the No. 1 starter in Cincinnati’s rotation until injuries affected each of his last three seasons. He is hoping a new spring training regimen will help him end the frustrating streak.
The right-hander threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, in the Reds’ game against the Angels on Saturday. New pitching coach Derek Johnson has the starters throwing fewer innings more often instead of appearing every five days on a set schedule during camp.
So far, the new routine has worked well for DeSclafani, who is trying to get through camp healthy. He has been hurt during spring training each of the last three years.
“My body felt good,” said DeSclafani, who struck out three in two innings. “My arm felt good.”
The Reds got DeSclafani from the Marlins as part of the Mat Latos trade after the 2014 season. He was on track to be the opening-day starter in 2016 when he strained his left oblique in his final spring training start and wound up missing the first two months of the season.
A strained elbow ligament wiped out all of his 2017 season. Last year, he strained the oblique again during spring training and missed two months of the season. DeSclafani returned on June 5 and led the team with seven wins, 115 innings, 108 strikeouts and 21 starts. He has made only 41 starts in the last three years combined, going 16-13.
First-year manager David Bell has changed the Reds’ program for getting pitchers ready. They’re getting more time to work on pitches in bullpen sessions.
“This whole camp has been different,” DeSclafani said. “The way it’s structured during games or during practice is a little different.
“I like it. We get out there in game situations which is always good. It’s going to be nice to have bullpen sessions to work on stuff but getting into game competition is good. It gets you acclimated earlier.”
DeScalafani’s spot in the rotation is undefined with opening day little more than three weeks away. The Reds overhauled their rotation with three offseason trades and haven’t yet decided on an order.
DeSclafani is using his bullpen sessions to develop his curveball. He’s also smoothing out his delivery in hopes of avoiding injury.
“DeSclafani was really good,” Bell said, referring to his two-inning appearance on Saturday. “I know he’s really excited about the way he feels. Talking to guys who were here last year, they said there’s a noticeable difference in is delivery and how free it is. It is showing up in the results.”
NOTES: Sonny Gray threw in the bullpen on Saturday and had no issues with his elbow, which became sore early in camp and forced him to stop throwing. The Reds are hoping he will be ready for the start of the season. … Catcher Curt Casali is taking batting practice and participating in catchers’ drills. He had surgery on his hip in the offseason. Bell expects him to get into a game around March 15. The Reds got Casali from the Rays last May 31 and he started 32 games as Tucker Barnhart’s backup.
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