Cincinnati Reds rookie a welcome addition

Through his first eight major league starts rookie Reds pitcher Vladimir Gutiérrez has been a pleasant surprise as a solid starter.

The 25-year-old Cuban boasts a 4-3 record with a 4.29 ERA in his first nine starts as he's settled comfortably into the rotation.

2021 has turned out to be quite the year for Gutiérrez, who was 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts for Louisville, a bounce back from 2019 when he was 6-11 with 6.04 ERA in Triple-A. 

Doc:For Reds' Vladimir Gutierrez, pitching must be the easy part

Here are three things to know about Vladimir Gutiérrez

Vladimir Gutiérrez and teammate Dainer Moreira defected from the Cuban national team in 2015

While competing in the 2015 Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico, Gutiérrez and shortstop Dainer Moreira defected from the national team. Gutiérrez headed to Mexico and took up residence there.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez (53) talks with Cincinnati Reds infielder Alejo Lopez (28) and Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) in the dugout during the second inning of a baseball game Chicago Cubs, Saturday, July 3, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

"We are very disappointed," Heriberto Suarez, national director of baseball in Cuba, told USA Today. "But this will serve as a platform for us to carry on stronger and more unified. We will continue giving our best and will return to Cuba together."

Gutiérrez was considered to be a decent MLB prospect after winning the Serie Nacional Rookie of the Year during the 2013-14 season.

Vladimir Gutiérrez: The 4.75 million dollar man

The Reds signed Gutiérrez to a $4.75 million deal in August of 2016.

That signing came on the heels of the Reds signing Cuban infielder Alfredo Rodriguez for $7 million.

Cincinnati Reds:How stadium advertisements led Vladimir Gutierrez to the Reds starting rotation

Cuban pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez smiles as he talks to Reds general manager Dick Williams and president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty.

Vladimir Gutiérrez has overcome stigma of suspension for positive PED test

Gutiérrez was suspended 80 games last season for a positive PED test.

The Reds still had enough faith in the young right-hander to add him to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

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