Reds' bullpen deep even with Broxton, Marshall injuries

Reds' bullpen deep even with Broxton, Marshall injuries

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds manager Bryan Price knows the value of a deep bullpen, and he likes the pieces he has in place for 2014.

But Price is also well aware of just how fickle the game of baseball can be to a relief corps.

"I think we know what we have," Price said. "I think it's safe to say we can form speculations. But bullpens are the toughest thing to project going into the season because it's really hard to find relievers that can stay consistently good, year after year."

The Reds enter the season with a more established relief corps than a year ago. But they also enter it with a pair of injury questions in Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall.

Broxton had surgery last August on his right forearm, and Marshall is dealing with left-shoulder tendinitis. If the pair can stay healthy, Price believes his bullpen could be in top form with J.J. Hoover, Sam LeCure and Manny Parra also helping to get the ball to closer Aroldis Chapman.

"We do have some history here -- Hoover now with a year plus, LeCure, Parra coming off a nice year," Price said. "But really, the key is to have full healthy years out of Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall."

Hoover, LeCure and Parra had breakout years last season thanks to the chances they were afforded due to injuries. They helped to comprise the National League's fourth-best bullpen. In total, the Reds relievers combined to post a 3.29 ERA.

Now, Price is hopeful for health and consistency among those relievers -- often hard to come by in a big league bullpen.

"If we want to win a World Series, we're going to need to be strong 1-7 throughout the course of the year," he said.

One member of the Reds bullpen suffered a bit of a setback as David Holmberg has been sidelined a few days after being hit in the shin by an errant throw on the practice fields. Holmberg felt fine after treatment, but a week later, the injury flared up.

"We got after it the day that it flared up," Holmberg said. "The treatment we're doing really helped out. It's just precautionary right now. Back to 100 percent."

Holmberg expects to pitch on Tuesday.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.