Top Prospects: Neftali Soto, 1B, Reds

PHILADELPHIA -- Seeking an extra bat for the bench, the Reds called up infielder Neftali Soto from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday and optioned lefty starter Tony Cingrani to Louisville.

It's the first big league promotion for the 24-year-old Soto, a third-round Draft pick in 2007 and the Reds' 14th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.

"I'm real excited. I can't even explain it," Soto said. "I'm going to enjoy it, do a lot of work and do my best."

After Cingrani started on Friday in a 5-3 loss to the Phillies, he was not expected to pitch again with Johnny Cueto due to be activated from the disabled list on Monday. It enabled Cincinnati to pad its 25-man roster with a position player.

In 33 games for Louisville, Soto is batting .269 with three home runs and 16 RBIs.

Soto is primarily a first baseman -- which is, of course, blocked by mainstay Joey Votto. He has been back playing at his original spot of third base. This season, he's played 18 games at first base and 16 at third base.

But defense had little to do with Soto's callup.

"Until Cueto is available, we need a right-handed bat here. I don't know how long he'll be here," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He's here mainly for his bat. He's worked hard. He's quite an accomplished first baseman. He's here mainly to give us some quality at-bats from the right side. Maybe he'll win a game or two, because as tight as this race is going to be, a game or two might be all you need."

Cingrani to work on secondary pitches in Triple-A

CIN@WSH: Cingrani fans four Nationals in the fourth

PHILADELPHIA -- Rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani was mostly impressive during his callup to the Majors. However, Cingrani was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday as the Reds prepare to bring ace Johnny Cueto back from the disabled list on Monday.

Corner infielder Neftali Soto was called up from Louisville to replace Cingrani on the roster in the meantime.

Over his six starts for Cincinnati, Cingrani was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA, nine walks and 41 strikeouts.

"He did a great job with the limited experience that he had," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It was a great learning experience, but he also helped us at the same time."

On Friday, in a 5-3 loss to the Phillies, Cingrani allowed three runs and five hits with two walks and four strikeouts over five innings. But he also threw 100 pitches in that relatively short span.

Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price told Cingrani that he needs to work on his secondary pitches -- the changeup and slider. Baker said Cingrani would not be mandated to throw a certain number of offspeed pitches while back at Louisville.

"We want him to get comfortable with it on the sidelines and then take it into the game," Baker said.

According to Fangraphs, the 23-year-old Cingrani threw his fastball 83.6 percent of the time, which is third-highest among Major League pitchers with at least 30 innings. In recent outings, Cingrani was getting hit harder the second time through an opposing lineup.

One of the fastballs on Friday was a 3-1 offering up in the strike zone to Jimmy Rollins that was hit for a two-run homer in the third inning.

"I could do it with the fastball if I just commanded it better, but it's just working on the other pitches to get them off of my fastball," Cingrani said. "It's always a learning process. It's great I got the six starts. I'll go back down, do what I have to do and work on that."

Worth noting

Left-handed reliever Manny Parra, on the disabled list since April 26 with a strained left pectoral muscle, has made two rehab appearances for Double-A Pensacola. In the most recent outing, during a start on Thursday, Parra threw 25 pitches over two scoreless innings with two hits and two strikeouts. His next outing is scheduled for Sunday.