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Parra's struggles complicate bullpen decision

Parra's struggles complicate bullpen decision play video for Parra's struggles complicate bullpen decision

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Spring Training is nearing its end and reaching the point where those on the roster bubble must perform with pressure at its highest. Four relievers vying for the final Reds' bullpen spots were all in action on Thursday against the Royals.

Lefty Manny Parra did not fare particularly well, as he gave up three runs and five hits over two innings with one walk. All of Parra's runs and hits came during a two-out rally in the top of the fifth.

Right-hander Logan Ondrusek followed Parra with a perfect sixth inning that included one strikeout. Jose Arredondo pitched the seventh and retired the side in order with one strikeout. J.J. Hoover took over in the eighth and after allowing a leadoff walk and a double to right field, struck out the side.

Parra has a 5.28 ERA through 10 spring appearances. But he has given up six runs, 11 hits and six walks over his past five games. There are complications to his situation since he signed a one-year, $1 million contract in January. And because he has accrued at least five years of service time, rules state Parra must approve being optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

Manager Dusty Baker was asked what Parra's role would be for the Reds on Thursday morning.

"He has to make the team first," Baker said. "I've seen Manny better than he's been here. Fortunately for us, we've seen him on the other side. We've seen him very good. It'd probably be a situation much like Billy Bray was last year -- the need for a second lefty to take pressure off of [Sean] Marshall earlier in the game. Or, if Marshall has gone three or four days in a row."

Ondrusek, who is signed to a two-year contract and has options remaining, has a 7.59 ERA through 10 games this spring. Before Thursday's solid appearance, he had given up seven runs and seven hits -- including one on Wednesday.

"It's probably his command, and his velocity is down some," Baker said of Ondrusek's spring. "When that's down, and the more you try to create velocity, the less velocity you have."

Baker said Ondrusek told him he was healthy. He encountered some struggles in August last season before getting sent down to Louisville.

"It's a little bewildering to some of us. I'm sure it is to him too as to why," Baker said.

Arredondo has allowed just one earned run over his past 10 innings during his last eight appearances. He has a 2.84 ERA in 11 games.

Hoover has had the best camp of any Reds reliever with two walks and a team-leading 19 strikeouts in his 10 innings to go with a 1.80 ERA.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }