Castillo to start opener

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Luis Castillo has been picked to start on opening day for the Cincinnati Reds.

Rookie manager David Bell said Castillo will get the ball March 28 at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Castillo was 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 31 starts for the Reds a year ago.

The 26-year-old right-hander is set to begin his second full season with Cincinnati. Castillo broke into the big leagues straight from Double-A Pensacola on June 23, 2017. He made his first start against Washington five months after the Reds acquired him and Austin Brice from the Miami Marlins in a trade for Dan Straily.

Cincinnati traded for three experienced starters this offseason: Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark and Alex Wood. Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani are the only holdovers from the 2018 rotation.

Bell said Gray, Roark and DeSclafani will follow Castillo.

“It was fun telling him. He was excited about it,” Bell said. “He’s had a lot of success leading up to now. We like the progress he’s made in spring training. We think he’s in a good place to start opening day. We trust any of those four guys.”

The Reds have yet to name a fifth starter to fill in for Wood, who is recovering from pain in his lower back.

Chuck Harmon dies

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds’ first African-American player has died at the age of 94.

The team says Charles “Chuck” Harmon died Tuesday, nearly 65 years after he made his debut against the Braves in Milwaukee on April 17, 1954. It did not provide details.

Harmon had remained a familiar figure in Cincinnati as a regular participant in fan and community events.

Among his Reds honors is a bronze plaque near their stadium entrance.

A native of Washington, Indiana, Harmon served in the Navy and was a standout basketball and baseball player at the University of Toledo . He worked his way into Major League Baseball seven years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

Harmon played more than two seasons as a Reds utility player. He also played for the Cardinals and Phillies in his four years in the majors.

Giants acquire Joe

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The San Francisco Giants have acquired Rule 5 draft selection Connor Joe from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a minor league pitcher and cash.

Joe is a 26-year-old right-handed hitter who has played first base, second base, third base and both outfield corners in the minor leagues. He could fill San Francisco’s need for a righty bat to balance its lefty-heavy lineup. As a Rule 5 pick, he must remain on the active roster all season or else be placed on waivers and offered back to his original team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Joe was 11 for 40 (.275) this spring with a home run and three RBIs. The Reds get righty Jordan Johnson, 25, who was 7-13 with a 4.06 ERA last season in 26 starts between Double-A and Triple-A.