CINCINNATI -- Lefty Tony Cingrani believed his back was fine and that he could make his next start on Sunday vs. the Brewers. But the Reds thought otherwise.
Cingrani is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right lower back strain. The Reds announced following Saturday's 6-3 victory over the Brewers that right-hander Greg Reynolds would replace Cingrani in the series finale.
"If something happened to [Cingrani], we couldn't really afford a short outing tomorrow to use my bullpen again, especially before we get to St. Louis [on Monday]," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
On Tuesday against Arizona, Cingrani exited after only 3 2/3 innings when he felt soreness in his back. A bullpen session on Friday was cut short after only 12 pitches. Not long after Cingrani made his case to reporters that he was ready, Reynolds arrived from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday afternoon.
Since Tuesday, Cingrani has put his back through therapy, electronic stimulus and anti-inflammatory drugs and proclaimed that he felt a lot better.
"I feel fantastic. Everything is moving good," Cingrani said before going on the field. "It's not up to me, that's for sure. I'd pitch every day, but that's not how it works."
Cingrani is 6-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 21 games, including 16 starts, during a strong rookie season filling in for injured ace Johnny Cueto. A DL move for Cingrani would be back dated to Aug. 21, and he'd likely miss two starts and return on Sept. 5 to face the Cardinals in Cincinnati.
Reynolds, the former overall No. 2 Draft pick of the Rockies in 2006, is 12-3 with a 2.42 ERA for Louisville. He last pitched on Tuesday also, working a complete game vs. Rochester and giving up just one run on five hits.
"It's good," Reynolds said of pitching Sunday after his normal four days of rest. "We're all about routines. It definitely makes a difference when you stay on schedule. If you have a couple of extra days sometimes, you don't feel as sharp. This is right on schedule."
Reynolds made one big league start for the Reds this season on June 23 at San Francisco, his first time in the Majors since 2011. The Bay Area native allowed five runs and eight hits over five innings. Three of the runs came in the first frame.
"I think I will be a little more comfortable this time, just with the guys," Reynolds said. "I've already met everybody. In San Francisco, things were moving a little fast that first inning, and I was having a tough time slowing it down. I don't anticipate that will be an issue again. There will definitely be some adrenaline, but I'm sure I will able handle it this time."
Baker gives Bruce a rest, starts Heisey
CINCINNATI -- It doesn't happen often, but Reds right fielder Jay Bruce was not in Saturday's lineup vs. the Brewers. Chris Heisey started in Bruce's place.
Bruce is 3-for-13 lifetime vs. Brewers starter Wily Peralta, but the issue is the bigger picture. He is batting .192 with two homers over his last 20 games, including 0-for-4 on Friday, and 3-for-19 on the homestand.
"It's as much a mental off-day as it is anything else," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "When you're a little fatigued, you start missing pitches and fouling pitches off. The difference in your concentration is less than a 10th of an inch between a popup, a foul ball and a home run. I just saw and thought it was necessary."
Bruce entered the night leading the Majors in total innings played and had started the previous 90 games in a row. Baker told him following Friday's game that he would not be in Saturday's lineup.
"He told me to come in a little later and don't do much," Bruce said. "It is hard. He's pretty adamant about giving guys some rest when he thinks they need it. I respect that."
Bruce entered Saturday batting .266 with 24 home runs and 81 RBIs, and his 34 doubles were one shy of his career high. With upcoming series vs. the Cardinals, Pirates and Dodgers, chances for days off are unlikely through the rest of the season.
"He explained it to me, which he doesn't even owe me an explanation," Bruce said of Baker. "I appreciate that."
Christiani enjoys successful Majors debut
CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Nick Christiani, called up for the first time on Thursday from Triple-A Louisville, had a successful Major League debut Friday with 1 1/3 scoreless innings vs. the Brewers.
Christiani, who replaced Alfredo Simon in the eighth and inherited a runner on second base with two outs, walked his first batter, Norichika Aoki, on four pitches, but retired his final four in a row.
"I just stepped off and took a deep breath and reminded myself to do what got me here and not try to do too much," Christiani said of regrouping following the walk. "The first hitter, I was trying to throw the ball a million miles an hour. It's going to do nothing but get me into trouble."
Christiani, a New Jersey native, had his parents, sister and girlfriend in attendance at Great American Ball Park. He was given the ball from his first pitch and the one from his first strikeout as keepsakes.