The Cincinnati Reds cut 11 players in their first round of roster cuts during spring training Friday, and they promoted left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan and infielder Jonathan India to big-league camp.
It's a sign that Finnegan and India are being seriously considered for roster spots. Finnegan has shown improved velocity this spring and pitched well in spring training games. India, one of the team's top prospects, impressed coaches at the alternate site last year and it's carried into camp.
"Those were fun conversations," Reds manager David Bell said. "You don't get to have those very often this time of the year. It's really just a reflection of what each guy has done. Definitely different situations, but I guess officially acknowledging that they belong here in Major League camp and that they're officially competing for a spot on the Major League team, which both have been even before this move."
Finnegan hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2018 when he had a 7.40 ERA over five starts. He struggled in the minor leagues in 2018 and 2019, even spending months of the 2019 season training at the Driveline facility near Seattle.
"It's been quite a road for Finny," Bell said. "Certainly, not easy. It was fun to be able to communicate to him just how impressive it is that he's been able to stay with it and keep finding ways to get better. I'm sure many times along the way, we all face this, he could've given up or gone the other way. He did the exact opposite and put himself back into a situation where he's really on the brink of being back in the big leagues."
India, who plays second base and third base, was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. He hasn't had a breakout year at minor-league levels, but the Reds were impressed with how consistent he was at the alternate site last year. India is probably an injury away from a big-league role because the Reds want him to play regularly.
"It just says so much about the difference a year makes in a young player's career," Bell said. "Not that he wasn't in a good place last year, but the development has been very significant over the last year to the point that he has a shot to make the team. If not, more importantly, he's in a position where we acknowledge that he's very close to contributing even if it's not Opening Day.
"I think we all see that he could add a lot to this team."
The Reds cut pitchers Édgar García, Vladimir Gutierrez, Ryan Hendrix, Riley O'Brien, Tony Santillan, Jared Solomon, R.J. Alaniz, Matt Ball, Shane Carle and Bo Takahashi, and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr.
The spring training roster now has 47 players. The Reds traded for utility man Mike Freeman on Friday, acquiring him from Cleveland. Freeman is a non-roster invitee in camp.