Reds’ first-round pick gets No. 5 starter job

GOODYEAR, ARIZ.(AP) —The Cincinnati Reds made Mike Leake(notes) their fifth starter on Friday, clearing the way for the right-hander to make his major league debut less than a year after he was drafted.

The 22-year-old Leake beat out Travis Wood(notes), a second-round pick in 2005, and Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman(notes), who was hampered by lower back spasms late in spring training.

“There’s no words to describe it, right now,” said Leake, the former Arizona State star who was selected eighth overall in last June’s draft. “Maybe in a couple days.”

Chapman, who agreed to a $30.25 million, six-year deal in January, was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.

“We just felt that competition-wise that’s where he should be,” general manager Walt Jocketty said.

The Reds also told infielder Aaron Miles(notes) and outfielder Wladimir Balentien(notes) that they did not make the team. Both players are still on the roster while the club tries to trade them.

“There were some tough decisions to make,” Jocketty said. “The two players know what their situation is but they are still on the roster, which is at 28. We will break camp with 11 pitchers and finalize everything on Monday.”

Leake also will be reassigned to the minors but will be called up when Cincinnati needs a fifth starter.

Infielders Miguel Cairo(notes) and Juan Francisco(notes), outfielder Laynce Nix(notes) and reliever Logan Ondrusek grabbed the last couple of spots on the team. Cairo and Nix were non-roster players.

“Ondrusek rose through the organization last year and dominated at every level,” Jocketty said. “He was that way this spring. He handled himself like a pro without having a lot of experience. He was very impressive.”

Ondrusek did not allow a run in 9 1-3 innings this spring.

Right-handers Wood, Jared Burton(notes) and Justin Lehr(notes), and lefty Matt Maloney(notes) also were sent to Louisville, along with infielders Chris Burke(notes) and Drew Sutton(notes), and utilityman Wilkin Castillo(notes). Right-hander Kip Wells(notes) was released.


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Updated Saturday, Apr 3, 2010