Stephenson rejoining Reds, will start Saturday

Young hurler made adjustments in Minors after struggling to open season in Cincy

Stephenson rejoining Reds, will start Saturday

CINCINNATI -- The Reds want to see what their future rotation looks like, and they want Robert Stephenson to be part of that future. But during his stint at Triple-A Louisville, Stephenson had to do his part by cutting down walks, showing more command in the strike zone and improving his third pitch.

Based on those factors, mission accomplished. Stephenson will be recalled on Saturday to face the Marlins.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castillo corrects course in solid 6-IP outing

Castillo corrects course in solid 6-IP outing

CINCINNATI -- Reds rookie starting pitcher Luis Castillo hasn't had any easy opponents through six big league starts. The flame-throwing righty has faced only first-place teams or playoff contenders thus far -- the Nationals (twice), Brewers, Rockies and D-backs (twice).

The first encounter with Arizona yielded Castillo's first win. On Thursday, a rough first inning was followed by an important course correction, but it was too late in Cincinnati's 12-2 loss to the D-backs.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Suarez homers twice, but Reds fall in finale

Suarez homers twice, but Reds fall in finale

CINCINNATI -- Three batters into Thursday's game at Great American Ball Park, the D-backs set the tone. After the first two batters reached, Jake Lamb slugged a three-run home run that sent Arizona on its way to a 12-2 victory over the Reds. That claimed two of three games in the series.

Before Lamb batted, Daniel Descalso walked and Chris Iannetta hit a double against Reds rookie Luis Castillo. Castillo went on to retire 18 of his next 20 batters. Lamb added a second homer, a three-run shot to left field, in the ninth inning against Ariel Hernandez during a six-run rally to finish with a career-high six RBIs.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati who covered the D-backs on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Unflappable Cozart continues to mash

Unflappable Cozart continues to mash

CINCINNATI -- With 11 days left until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Reds shortstop Zack Cozart was done discussing rumors, choosing to avoid the issue on Thursday morning. Cozart occupies the same end-of-the-clubhouse locker that once belonged to Jay Bruce, who was dealing with heavy rumors a year ago at this time.

In the week leading up to his Aug. 1 trade to the Mets, Bruce homered in five straight games as he blocked out the distractions. Cozart, who was the starting shortstop on the National League All-Star team last week, appears poised to do likewise. In Tuesday and Wednesday's games vs. the D-backs, he was 7-for-10 with two home runs.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duvall's walk-off hit lifts Reds over D-backs in 11

Duvall's walk-off hit lifts Reds over D-backs in 11

CINCINNATI -- With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning, Adam Duvall ended the Reds' five-game losing streak. Duvall's RBI single scored the winning run for a 4-3, walk-off victory over the D-backs on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park. Arizona lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Billy Hamilton started the rally with a one-out single to left field against reliever T.J. McFarland. Zack Cozart followed with his fourth hit of the game, a ground-rule double to right-center field that prevented Hamilton from scoring. Joey Votto was intentionally walked, setting up Duvall.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the D-backs on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds' bullpen strategy pays off in late victory

Iglesias, Lorenzen contribute to five scoreless innings from 'pen

Reds' bullpen strategy pays off in late victory

CINCINNATI -- It wasn't a save situation for Raisel Iglesias in the eighth inning of a tied game, but it was a perfect time for Reds manager Bryan Price to try something different with his bullpen usage.

Forget holding back the closer for a save situation. It was best reliever vs. best hitter, Iglesias vs. Paul Goldschmidt. The best reliever won the showdown, as did the bullpen with five scoreless innings in an 11-inning, 4-3 Reds win over the D-backs on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mesoraco returns to Reds from disabled list

Cincinnati options right-hander Bonilla to Triple-A Louisville

Mesoraco returns to Reds from disabled list

CINCINNATI -- The Reds activated catcher Devin Mesoraco from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday and optioned right-handed reliever Lisalverto Bonilla to Triple-A Louisville.

Mesoraco had been on the DL since July 5 (retroactive to July 3) because of a left shoulder strain. He spent the past two days on a rehab assignment at Louisville, where he was 1-for-7 with a grand slam while catching two full games.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blandino homers again for Louisville

Blandino homers again for Louisville

Astros prospects Daz Cameron and Ronnie Dawson put up monster numbers to help lead Class A Quad Cities to a 20-3 win over Lansing on Wednesday night.

The duo combined to go 6-for-9 with two triples, three home runs, four runs scored and eight RBIs on a night where everything went right for the River Bandits' offense.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rotation troubles surface in Reds' loss

Triple-A callup Romano struggles, gives up six runs over four frames

Rotation troubles surface in Reds' loss

CINCINNATI -- All season, the Reds have demonstrated the ability to hit and play defense and often have had a quality bullpen in the late innings. What's been lacking throughout is starting pitching. Manager Bryan Price is hoping that the final 2 1/2 months of the season will provide the vision of a quality rotation that can roll into 2018.

Sal Romano is one of those pitching prospects Price envisioned to be part of the solution. But Romano could not solve the problems of the rotation during Tuesday's 11-2 loss to the D-backs.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cozart has big game, but Reds fall to D-backs

Cozart has big game, but Reds fall to D-backs

CINCINNATI -- Winless since the All-Star break, both the D-backs and Reds were desperate to create some second-half traction with a victory on Tuesday. Arizona got what it wanted with an 11-2 victory to snap a five-game losing streak, while Cincinnati is still searching while immersed in its own five-game losing streak.

It was a 2-2 game until a six-run Arizona fifth inning broke it open. Two batters after David Peralta's RBI double, Jake Lamb came through with a two-run triple that ended rookie starter Sal Romano's night without an out recorded in the fifth. Reliever Tony Cingrani could not slow the momentum and gave up two doubles and a Chris Herrmann two-run homer for a six-run lead. 

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati and he covered the D-backs on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Feldman latest Reds starter to land on DL

All five members of Cincy's Opening Day rotation have spent time on the shelf

Feldman latest Reds starter to land on DL

CINCINNATI -- Just how decimated by injury has the Reds' rotation been this season? With Scott Feldman going on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with right knee inflammation, all five pitchers that were in the club's rotation on Opening Day have been on the DL.

Even members of the preseason projected roster -- Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani -- have spent all or most of this season injured.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Griffey passes on lessons from iconic career

Hall of Famer speaks to young ballplayers at Elite Development Invitational

Griffey passes on lessons from iconic career

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Dozens of hands shot into the air when Ken Griffey Jr. opened the floor for questions Tuesday at the Elite Development Invitational in Historic Dodgertown.

"These guys want to help you to be the best guys that you can be … the best people you can be," Griffey said of the coaches at EDI. "If you guys do make it, it's our bragging rights; 'I remember this kid when he was 12, 13, 14, on up.' … We just want to let other kids know, 'Hey, he was in the same situation that you are in; he came to this camp. You can be that guy.'"

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Shannon Ford is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duvall Reds' Heart and Hustle Award winner

Duvall Reds' Heart and Hustle Award winner

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association revealed the 30 preliminary winners of the 2017 Heart and Hustle Award on Tuesday. The honor is the only one voted on by former players, and is bestowed each year upon the active player who most represents a passion for the game of baseball, and best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game.

Past winners of the Heart and Hustle Award include David Eckstein (2005), Hall of Famer Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013), Josh Harrison (2014), Anthony Rizzo (2015) and Todd Frazier (2016).

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wojo steps up after Feldman's rough outing

Reliever goes 5 innings after starter leaves with sore knee

Wojo steps up after Feldman's rough outing

CINCINNATI -- A rough weekend vs. the Nationals stretched into Monday for the Reds in a way they didn't expect. Trouble came quickly as starter Scott Feldman displayed decreased fastball velocity and flat pitches that hitters jumped on easily.

Feldman exited after giving up five runs in the first inning, and the Reds went on to lose, 6-1, to Washington in a four-game sweep. After the game, Feldman said he has a sore right knee and is likely headed for the disabled list.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Suarez homers, but tough 1st stings Reds

Suarez homers, but tough 1st stings Reds

CINCINNATI -- Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was their starter on July 8, the last time his team lost a game, when he was roughed up by the Braves. There would be no bookending losses by Strasburg, who cruised behind another robust performance from Washington's lineup in a 6-1 victory over the Reds on Monday afternoon.

That made it a smooth four-game series sweep for the Nats, who also took six of the seven games in the season series. During the long weekend at Great American Ball Park, Washington slugged 13 home runs -- including three on Monday. In the series, Cincinnati was outscored, 35-12.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati who covered the Nationals on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elizalde hits third homer for Louisville

Elizalde hits third homer for Louisville

J.P. Crawford's season has been a struggle, but the Phillies No. 1 prospect has shown signs of life lately, including a 2-for-4 performance in Triple-A Lehigh Valley's 8-4 win over Gwinnett on Monday.

The No. 4 overall prospect hit his eighth homer of the season, a two-run blast in the fifth, and boosted his average to .221 - the highest it's been all year - as he continues to start the second half on a high note.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds can't recover after allowing HRs in loss

Reds can't recover after allowing HRs in loss

CINCINNATI -- Great American Ball Park is supposed to be the Reds' playpen for home runs. The Nationals clearly have felt plenty comfortable clearing the fences in Cincinnati this weekend as they slugged another five homers -- including two by Daniel Murphy -- for a 14-4 victory Sunday.

While claiming the first three games of the four-game series that ends Monday, Washington has slugged 10 homers and has outscored Cincinnati, 29-11.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Nationals on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Trammell makes Pipeline Team of the Week

Trammell makes Pipeline Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible.

Brendan Rodgers' hitting ability made him MLBPipeline.com's No. 1-rated prospect and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft. The Rockies shortstop has lived up to expectations and is having his best season yet.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bailey shows inconsistency after 2 good outings

Making 5th start, right-hander says rust not to blame

Bailey shows inconsistency after 2 good outings

CINCINNATI -- Including Sunday, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has made 13 starts over the last three seasons amid three different surgeries on his right elbow. The 14-4 loss to the Nationals at Great American Ball Park was his fifth start since returning from the latest procedure, and his season has produced three bad outings and two good ones.

Bailey, who gave up eight earned runs and eight hits over four-plus innings to fall to 2-3 with a 10.13 ERA, wasn't using rust as a reason behind his 2017 resume.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds find hidden gem in form of Gennett

Price lauds utility player's offensive impact

Reds find hidden gem in form of Gennett

CINCINNATI -- Waiver claims at the end of Spring Training are, more often than not, smaller moves that rarely stand out. The Reds have bucked that trend a few times in the past several years with pitchers Alfredo Simon and Dan Straily coming to mind.

When the Reds claimed Simon after camp broke in 2012, he became a do-it-all reliever for two seasons before having a 15-win All-Star season in the rotation in 2014. Straily arrived just before Opening Day last season and won 14 games. But this year's end-of-camp claim, Scooter Gennett, might be the best of all.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds' rally falls short after giving up 10 runs

Reds' rally falls short after giving up 10 runs

CINCINNATI -- Max Scherzer wasn't entirely on point in his first start of the second half, but the Nationals ace found plenty of ways to keep the Reds off of the scoreboard on Saturday. Although Scherzer blanked the Reds for six innings, the Nationals bullpen nearly gave a huge lead back before hanging on for a 10-7 victory over Cincinnati.

Scherzer struck out 10 batters over six scoreless innings while allowing three hits and four walks. He left with a 3-0 lead and the Nationals were leading by a 10-0 score after seven innings.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Nationals on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castillo starts strong opposite Scherzer

But young right-hander runs into trouble with two outs

Castillo starts strong opposite Scherzer

CINCINNATI -- For his fifth big league start on Saturday, Reds rookie Luis Castillo was opposing one of the game's best pitchers in Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Yet it was Castillo who didn't allow any hits for the first three innings.

Castillo wasn't able to sustain that success in the fourth inning, the only inning where he was touched up in a 10-7 Reds loss. In six innings, the 24-year-old prospect allowed three earned runs and three hits with four walks and six strikeouts while doing nothing to lower manager Bryan Price's optimism about his pitching future.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donkey business: Cozart gets sneak preview

Votto fulfills promise, arranges for animals to visit ballpark

Donkey business: Cozart gets sneak preview

CINCINNATI -- Joey Votto learned that buying his friend and Reds teammate, Zack Cozart, a donkey for making the National League All-Star team was the easy part. Getting a donkey ready to be a pet is a whole other ballgame, so to speak.

On Saturday, Votto paid off his bet publicly by arranging to have three donkeys visit Great American Ball Park. One of the donkeys, 12-year-old Amos, was brought onto the field during Reds batting practice.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mahle flirts with no-no for Louisville

Mahle flirts with no-no for Louisville

Rafael Devers put his entire skillset on display while leading Pawtucket to a 7-4 win over Syracuse in his Triple-A debut on Saturday.

Devers, the No. 12 overall prospect (Red Sox's No. 1), was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and also showed off his defensive ability with an impressive bare-handed play at third base.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Adleman, offense struggle in loss to Nats

Adleman, offense struggle in loss to Nats

CINCINNATI -- Following a personal three-game skid going into the All-Star break, Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez opened the second half with a sterling performance. Backed by Bryce Harper's two home runs, Gonzalez stifled the Reds for 8 1/3 innings and cruised to a 5-0 victory on Friday at Great American Ball Park.

Gonzalez allowed four hits with two walks while striking out six. It was his fourth straight quality start but first victory since June 20. Matt Albers gave up three hits that loaded the bases in the ninth, but Matt Grace notched the final out to end it for his first save of the season.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Nationals on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schebler comes up big on defensive end

Outfielder makes 4-star catch, throws runner out at home

Schebler comes up big on defensive end

CINCINNATI -- Reds right fielder Scott Schebler was irate with himself and how he performed at the plate on Friday night. During a 5-0 loss to the Nationals, Schebler struck out twice with runners in scoring position. The only thing he could do was make up for it, defensively.

Schebler did that, making a nice running catch at the warning track and notching an outfield assist to throw out a runner at the plate.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Help Cozart name his All-Star Game donkey

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Help Cozart name his All-Star Game donkey

Leading up to the deadline for 2017 All-Star Game fan voting, Joey Votto made Reds teammate Zack Cozart a deal: If the shortstop made the NL roster, Votto would buy him his very own donkey. 

Soon enough, #VoteCozart took off. Cozart's wife was on-board. Even costumes got involved.

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Votto has a chance to join an illustrious group

Reds haven't had player lead NL in homers since Foster

Votto has a chance to join an illustrious group

CINCINNATI -- The Reds are baseball's oldest professional baseball franchise, yet have had precious few players ever lead the National League in home runs. All-Star first baseman Joey Votto has a chance to add his name to a rarefied spot in the team history.

Votto entered the start of the second half with 26 homers, tied with Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins. Only five different Cincinnati players have ever led the league in homers, the last being George Foster in 1978. Every other current NL team has had a player win outright or tie for the home run title since 1991.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds a team to watch leading up to Deadline

9 1/2 games out of 1st, club will need hot 2nd-half start to avoid being sellers

Reds a team to watch leading up to Deadline

CINCINNATI -- A sink in the standings over the past month and a general manager in his first year running the baseball operations department will likely make the Reds a team to watch over the next two-plus weeks ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

In the offseason, Reds GM Dick Williams maintained he would listen to trade proposals for any player and be opportunistic. That was clear in January when the team -- already short of proven starting pitchers -- moved Dan Straily to the Marlins to acquire three prospects that included power-armed starter Luis Castillo, who is currently in the Reds' starting rotation.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.