Right-hander Johnny Cueto will start Tuesday's wild-card playoff game Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates because fellow righty Mat Latos has a bone chip in his pitching elbow.
The host Pirates will counter with left-hander Francisco Liriano.
The Reds hope Latos will improve with treatment and be able to pitch in the National League Divisional Series if they win Tuesday.
Manager Dusty Baker was considering starting Latos in the wild-card game but the right-hander has been bothered by pain in his elbow. He asked if he could pitch in relief but Baker disagreed.
"I don't think we're going to take a chance," Baker said before Sunday's regular-season finale against the Pirates. "We haven't discussed it in-depth. Most pitchers have little bone chips or fragments in their elbows. Sometimes they move around. Sometimes they get back in that slot and stay there. His is a little sore."
With Cueto starting, Latos will probably not be on the Reds' roster for the wild-card game. If the Reds advance, Latos could be added for the divisional series, which starts Thursday in the city of the team with the best record in the NL -- St. Louis or Atlanta.
Baker believes Latos will be ready by then.
"I'm pretty sure he'll be fine for that," Baker said. "Those things float in and out until you get them taken care of. Guys pitch with them for years, and most people have them."
Young left-hander Tony Cingrani has been slowed by back spasms. The team hopes he could return later in the playoffs. He has been throwing bullpen sessions without any problems. Since he is not in shape to start, the team is sending him to their facility in Arizona to throw in hopes of having him available to pitch in relief at some point.