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Price optimistic Cingrani can start on road trip

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CINCINNATI -- Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani appeared a good bet to come off of the disabled list and pitch on Saturday vs. the Phillies. Wednesday's rainout has thrown a wrench in the plans.

Cincinnati's rotation is in flux with starters being moved back a day. The club currently has "TBA" listed for Sunday at Philadelphia.

"We're still optimistic that Tony will pitch on that road trip," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "There's nothing that suggests he won't. Which game, we'll probably have a better idea in the next 48 hours. He could pitch on Sunday or Monday the way things are laying out now."

On the DL since May 1 because of mild shoulder tendinitis, Cingrani threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Wednesday afternoon without issue. That came after an 80-pitch session Monday.

"I'm fine. I feel strong," Cingrani said. "I can't wait to go out there and pitch against the Phillies. I pitched against them last time and lost at Citizens Bank Park. It should be pretty good to get out there and face them again."

Cingrani actually got a no-decision on May 17 last year when he gave up three runs and five hits over five innings in a 5-3 Reds loss to the Phillies.

"We're optimistic," Price said. "What we're looking for is a stronger shoulder and a pain-free delivery. I think we're close. But we want to be all the way there before he's activated. We anticipate him being able to pitch on the road trip. Until we get through that last stage, we won't make a commitment to him starting."

Cingrani last started on April 30 vs. the Cubs and showed decreased fastball velocity over his four-inning outing. While he was out, the Reds used a four-man rotation because of scheduled off-days. The 24-year-old expressed his displeasure about being put on the DL but admitted Wednesday it was probably in his best interest.

"It's always a good thing to get a break, but I don't want a break," Cingrani said. "It put a little more pressure on the other four starters, which wasn't too good. I didn't want to take it but it's definitely going to help."

As for whether the injury was fully behind him, Cingrani couldn't say for sure.

"I don't know. I haven't thrown in a game yet," he said.

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.

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