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Price may stick with eight-man bullpen

Price may stick with eight-man bullpen

MILWAUKEE -- The Reds have been operating with 13 pitchers, eight of them relievers, and playing a man short on the bench for nearly two weeks. This week the reason was, in part, to have pitching depth in case starters Mat Latos and Homer Bailey did not return well from the injuries that downed them at the end of the first half.

But it appears that the eight-man bullpen could remain for the time being.

"That's simply a way of making sure we stay strong and not overtaxed in our bullpen or rotation," manager Bryan Price said on Tuesday. "We don't have a ton of significant options in our system that are on the [40-man] roster."

Both Ruben Gotay and Felix Perez are having strong offensive seasons at Triple-A Louisville. Neither is on the 40-man roster, but both have been discussed by the big league brain trust. The current bench features such recent callups as Kristopher Negron and Donald Lutz; the depth is thinned down below.

"Those guys that are on the [40-man] roster, can they help us in a more significant way by playing?" said Price. "Or can we expect them to thrive as bench players that start once in seven to 10 games and get a small handful of pinch-hitting opportunities? I don't know if we have that guy in the system right now."

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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