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Luis Cessa returns to Reds from World Baseball Classic, will start today

The team’s rotation is in flux. In flux!

2023 WBC Workout Day Phoenix Photo by Daniel Shirey/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

When Team Mexico set their starting rotation for their upcoming World Baseball Classic ties over a week ago, they did so with some elite talent represented. Julio Urias, Jose Urquidy, Taijuan Walker, and Patrick Sandoval were tasked with that responsibility, and their success paired with the timely hitting and defense around them has propelled Mexico to the semifinals of the tournament.

Selfishly, I wondered aloud what that meant for Luis Cessa of the Cincinnati Reds, a pitcher who’d spent the vast majority of his time in the big leagues as a pretty solid reliever but who was on a club that clearly had inklings of using him as a starter again. How was being a reliever in the WBC going to get him ready to start for the Reds the first week of the regular season?

As it turns out, it wasn’t getting him ready quickly enough, as Cessa appeared just once and logged 2.0 IP in the tournament. So, despite Mexico advancing and still having at least another game remaining, Cessa made the difficult decision to leave Team Mexico and rejoin the Reds, in theory giving him enough time to stretch out and potentially serve as a starter for the club in April. Cessa made a statement earlier on Sunday.

With Justin Dunn out for months and Luke Weaver now out for the start of the season, each with varying injuries to their respective pitching arms, the Reds are in a bind for pitchers at the moment, and with Cessa in a walk year it’s hard to fault him for seeing such a unique opportunity and doing what it takes to get a chance to seize it.

The decision was clearly in the works for some time, as Cessa will get the start for the Reds today in Cactus League action the road in Maryvale against the Milwaukee Brewers. In doing so, he’ll bump Hunter Greene - one of the known quantities in the Reds rotation - to a minor league start (to keep him on schedule for Opening Day).

First pitch from Maryvale is set for 4:05 PM ET, and you’ll be able to watch it via thanks to the Beers TV coverage.

Here’s the lineup and travel roster thanks to the handy tweeting of blog friend Doug Gray.