Sean Newcome pitched four innings in his final tuneup for the season and Pedro Florimon hit a ninth-inning grand slam off Jimmy Herget to lift the Atlanta Braves over the Cincinnati Reds 7-5 Tuesday in the last exhibition game for each team.
Newcomb, a 25-year-old left-hander, allowed two runs and three hits in four innings. He has a leadership role in a rotation that includes rookies Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson.
Mike Foltynewicz, a 2018 All-Star who was expected to be the team’s top starter, is recovering from a sore elbow and Kevin Gausman from a sore shoulder. Max Fried, a 2018 rookie, is the probable No. 5 starter.
“I would be younger on some other teams but here I’m kind of stuck in the middle, kind of knowing all those younger guys but also having been here for a couple years,” Newcomb said. “They kind of come to me for a lot of questions because it’s a little more comfortable for them.”
Newcomb was 12-9 with a 3.90 ERA last season. The left-hander faded after posting a 2.59 ERA in his first 15 starts.
A key to Newcomb’s hopes of improved consistency is better control. He had no walks while giving up two runs on three hits in four innings. Newcomb walked 15 batters in his first 17 innings this spring training.
Pitching behind Newcomb, Wright gave up three runs and five hits in four innings.
Kyle Farmer hit a two-run homer off Newcomb in the third inning. Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson hit a two-run homer off Zach Duke in the fifth.
Farmer’s homer could help his efforts to win a roster spot. He was demoted to the minors on Friday and recalled on Saturday after Scooter Gennett sustained a severe groin strain that will force him to miss the opening months of the season.
Curt Casali drove in two runs with a double off Wright in the sixth.
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani allowed two hits and one walk in four scoreless innings.
Reds OF Nick Senzel sprained his right ankle while sliding into second base in a minor league game on Monday night. Senzel will be in a walking boot for at least one week and will be out for “weeks after that,” president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. Williams added the injury doesn’t affect plans for Senzel to play center field, instead of second base, “but it affects the time frame.” Senzel, the team’s top prospect, was sent to the minors on Friday.
Reds RHP Matt Wisler was reassigned to the minors and is expected to be designated for assignment. Manager David Bell said Wisler, who began his career with the Braves, “did everything he could to make the team” but lost out to RHP Robert Stephenson in the competition for a spot in the bullpen. “We like where he is, we believe in him,” Bell said of Stephenson. Bell said he didn’t want to define Stephenson’s bullpen role.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo will start when the Reds open at home against Pittsburgh on Thursday.
Braves: Teheran will make his sixth straight opening day start when Atlanta faces the Phillies and RHP Aaron Nola on Thursday.