Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stephenson to make big league debut vs. Phillies

Reds right-hander Robert Stephenson finally gets his shot.
He is scheduled to make his Major League debut Thursday afternoon in the series finale against the Phillies at Great American Ball Park. Stephenson, 23, is Cincinnati's No. 2 prospect, according to MLBPipeline. The Reds selected him in the first round of the 2011 Draft.
Stephenson struggled a bit in Spring Training, posting a 9.58 ERA in four Cactus League starts. He had trouble commanding the ball and he seemed to press in his final spring start, knowing a spot on the Opening Day roster was on the line. But Stephenson said he is confident he can keep his emotions in check against the Phillies.
Stephenson is expected to return to Triple-A following the start. He took the roster spot of Homer Bailey, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 25) as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
Things to know:
• Phillies right-hander Charlie Morton faces Stephenson. He has had a fair amount of success against the Reds, going 4-2 with a 3.83 ERA in nine career starts against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
• Expect Ryan Howard to be back in the Phillies' lineup. The Phillies are using Howard and Darin Ruf as a platoon at first base with Howard facing right-handed pitchers and Ruf facing left-handers. Howard spoke to reporters Wednesday about his transition from being an everyday player to a part-time player. He seems to be a peace with his situation going forward.

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