CINCINNATI — If baseball is all about second chances and second steps, then Greg Reynolds is ready to lace up his spikes and take that second step with the Cincinnati Reds.
His chance comes Tuesday in San Francisco.
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With a doubleheader against the Giants, one game a makeup from a rained out game in Cincinnati (the Reds will be the home team in San Francisco for the first game), the Reds need an extra starting pitcher.
So they reached down to Triple-A Louisville and purchased the contract of non-roster pitcher Greg Reynolds, owner of a 10-2 record with a 2.51 earned run average.
Is Reynolds some young phenomenon drafted by the Reds? Not exactly.
Reynolds once was expected to be the Stephen Straburg of the Colorado Rockies. They drafted him No. 1, second overall, in the 2006 draft out of Stanford University.
But it was not to be. In only 16 starts for the Rockies in 2008 and 2011, Reynolds was 5-8 with a 7.47 earned run average. So the Rockies traded him to Texas after the 2011 season and he spent 2012 in the minors.
And after the 2012 season the Rangers said, ‘Goodbye, no room here. We don’t need you.” They released him.
Reynolds said teams put no dents in his door beating on it for him to sign with them and very few wasted cellphone minutes talking to his agent.
One of the few was the Cincinnati Reds, who signed him to a minor league contract offering the 28-year-old right hander a place he could start all over.
He is 6-7 and weighs 225 pounds. Pete Rose liked to describe hard-throwing pitchers as guys who could throw a baseball through a car wash and not get it wet. Despite his size, that’s not Greg Reynolds. If he threw a ball through a car wash it would get soaked.
He is finesse — location and foolery and command and deception.
“I was a free agent this offseason and we were trying to find the right fit — and to be honest we didn’t have many offers.
“It was nice to come here because the Reds have two guys here who do the type of stuff I do — sink and cut the ball, too. Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo both do that, too. It is great to be with an organization who has seen guys like me and I hope I can foillow in their footsteps.”
In fact, his catcher at Louisville, Corky Miller, who is with the Reds right now and will catch Reynolds on Tuesday, desribes Reynolds, “As a much taller Mike Leake.”
Leake, a 5-10, 185-pounder, is 9-4 with a 2.74 earned run average.
“This is more gratifying this time around for me because I’ve had to fight my way to get back,” he said.
“I’ve had to transition to being more of a pitcher, beat guys with stuff,” he said. “My fastball isn’t what it was coming out of college. I need to pitch more, execute better, hit ‘em with a steady mix, keep ‘em off balance. I’ve learned to use my entire repertoire.”
That could be Mike Leake and/or Bronson Arroyo talking.
Changing from power to finesse was a struggle at first and he said, “This has been a two-year transition, trying to fine-tune everything, get the right pitch mix and try different pitches in different situations. It was a long time coming but I feel I’ve definitely turned the corner. I’ve had to fight a lot harder to get back here and I’m looking forward to showing I belong.”