CINCINNATI -- The Reds finalized their 25- and 40-man rosters just prior to Monday's opener vs. the Diamondbacks. Most of the moves were expected. Cincinnati selected the contracts of pitchers Johnny Cueto, Mike Lincoln and Kent Mercker, catcher Paul Bako and outfielder Corey Patterson. All were non-roster invites to Spring Training that earned jobs out of camp. To clear room, shortstop Alex Gonzalez and pitcher Matt Belisle were placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21. Catcher David Ross also went on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Sunday.
As expected, left-hander Mike Stanton was designated for assignment. In a bit of a surprise, so was reliever Jon Coutlangus. The left-handed Coutlangus appeared in 64 big league games for the Reds last season but was one of the early cuts from camp. Pitcher Richie Gardner was claimed off of waivers by the Brewers. Gardner was a top pitching prospect in the organization until he needed reconstructive shoulder surgery in August 2005. The right-hander returned to form in 2007 and was 11-7 with a 3.52 ERA in 26 starts as he zoomed through three Minor League levels to Triple-A. In parting ways with Stanton, the Reds showed a willingness to eat the $3.5 million owed to the veteran for 2008 and his '09 option buyout. He had a 4.50 ERA (three earned runs over six innings) in six spring games and missed some time the final week because of a family emergency. Stanton didn't have a bad camp but struggled all of last year. The 40-year-old's removal was an indication the Reds didn't let dollars interfere with their goal of trying to contend. "I'm not into sending messages," general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "I like Mike Stanton a lot. He's going through a real difficult time right now with his family. That made it doubly tough. We just felt there were a couple of people ahead of him that, in our opinion, made us a better team going into the season. Forget the money part."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.