SD@CIN: Francis pitches five innings in 2014 debut

CINCINNATI -- Ahead of Thursday's rescheduled doubleheader vs. the Padres, the Reds made a couple of roster moves to add a starting pitcher.

Left-handed starter Jeff Francis had his contract selected from Triple-A Louisville, and he was scheduled to pitch Game 2 on Thursday night. To make room on the 25-man roster for Francis, reliever Nick Christiani was optioned to Louisville. Francis took the 40-man roster spot of starter Mat Latos, who was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.

Teams are allowed to add a 26th man on their rosters for the second game of a doubleheader. By rule, a player has to be on the 40-man roster to be the 26th man. Following Game 1, Christiani was formally recalled to take the extra roster spot, as the 10-day rule to return from the Minors was not applicable because of the doubleheader.

Francis, who was originally scheduled to start Thursday for Louisville, worked five innings and allowed three runs on five hits with four strikeouts in the Reds' 6-1 loss in the nightcap. The southpaw, who did not walk a batter, took the loss and is now 70-79 lifetime in the Majors.

"It's for these situations that you really need to have depth," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "In many ways, this is a stroke of good luck that he was lined up to pitch today. We certainly couldn't have known this would have happened."

The Reds originally had Johnny Cueto slated to pitch on Wednesday and Alfredo Simon for Thursday vs. San Diego. Cueto was given Game 1 on Wednesday afternoon, but everyone else in the Cincinnati rotation was pushed back a day.

Simon will start on Friday in Philadelphia and Homer Bailey will pitch Saturday. Had the Reds used both Cueto and Simon in the doubleheader, it would have left them a starter short later, and no one was going to be brought back on short rest at Washington next week.

"I preferred to do it the way we're doing it as opposed to getting out on the road and try to get somebody from Triple-A lined up to pitch that open day," Price said. "This, to me, works better for us."

Cincinnati planned to announce its 26th man prior to the start of Game 2.

Christiani, who earned a spot on the big league roster out of Spring Training, entered Thursday with a 5.54 ERA in 10 games over 13 innings this season.

Latos has successful bullpen session

Duquette on the Reds' early season injury woes

CINCINNATI -- Reds pitcher Mat Latos, who has been out all season because of various injuries, had his second bullpen session on Wednesday since his April setback of a strained flexor mass tendon in his right arm.

All went well for Latos, who is expected to have one more bullpen session before advancing to a simulated game.

"[Latos is] feeling great," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Thursday morning. "I'm really excited because he's feeling as well as he said he's felt in years. That's a pretty bold statement for a guy that's thrown a lot of innings and pitched a lot of big games and won a lot of games to say something like that here as we're getting close to his potential activation."

Latos, who will travel with the club on the upcoming road trip, is expected to throw his simulated game sometime next week at Washington. After a rehab assignment, Cincinnati is still hopeful for an early June return from the DL.

Marshall progressing, 'ready to get back'

CIN@CWS: Price on Marshall's outing vs. the White Sox

CINCINNATI -- Reds right-handed pitcher Brett Marshall, currently on the 60-day disabled list because of a strained tendon on his middle finger, resumed throwing recently and his long toss program has him up to 90 feet. Marshall soon hopes to reach 120 feet before moving up on to working from a bullpen mound.

"I'm moving faster because it's not an arm issue. It's just a finger issue," Marshall said on Thursday. "My arm is in shape. I was able to keep up my exercises and do everything but throw. Everything feels good."

Marshall was a contender for the final rotation spot in Spring Training until the injury happened in his final outing. That spot wound up going to Alfredo Simon.

If all keeps progressing normally, Marshall could have his first bullpen session before the end of the month. Eventually, he could head out on a rehab assignment in the Minors.

"My arm feels pretty good for the most part," Marshall said. "It was hanging the first week because I hadn't thrown in six weeks. I was like, 'oh my God,' but it feels good now. The ball is coming out well and the finger feels good. I'm ready to get back to games."

Worth noting

SD@CIN: Mesoraco blasts a homer during his rehab game

• Catcher Devin Mesoraco (strained left hamstring) was 0-for-4 on Wednesday during his second rehab assignment game for Triple-A Louisville. Mesoraco followed that by going 1-for-3 at Norfolk on Thursday. He could potentially be activated from the DL before Friday's series opener at Philadelphia.