The Reds are planning to start right-hander Robert Dugger in tomorrow’s contest in Milwaukee, the team informed reporters (including Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer). The team will need to formally select his contract before the game, but they have a pair of vacancies on the 40-man roster.
It’ll be Dugger’s first MLB start of the season. He’s made three long relief appearances, one with the Rays and two with Cincinnati. Dugger has tallied 12 innings of six-run ball over that time, striking out 17 batters against just three walks. Despite the decent numbers in his brief looks, he’s been successively designated for assignment after each of his previous appearances. That’s in large part because he’s out of minor league option years, meaning clubs have to keep him on the big league roster or take him off the 40-man entirely every time he earns a promotion.
To this point, neither Tampa Bay nor Cincinnati has been willing to give the 27-year-old an extended look. He’s functioned as something of a 14th man on each pitching staff, coming up as needed to soak up some innings but not getting a lengthier opportunity. Since the Reds claimed him off waivers from Tampa Bay in May, he’s passed through the wire unclaimed on three separate occasions. Each time, Dugger has foregone the possibility of free agency and reported to Triple-A Louisville in hopes of pitching his way back to Cincinnati.
The Texas Tech product has started 12 of his 15 Triple-A appearances on the year, tallying 58 2/3 innings. He owns a 4.30 ERA with a modest 18.3% strikeout rate and a 9.8% walk percentage. Over parts of four big league campaigns, Dugger has a 6.97 ERA in 82 2/3 frames.