CIN@CHC: Chapman hits 102 to fan Rizzo, end threat

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds planned no announcement on Thursday regarding a decision about pitcher Aroldis Chapman's role for this season. A report indicated the club was prepared to say Chapman would be closing this season.

Reds manager Dusty Baker and general manager Walt Jocketty denied that a decision had been made.

"I don't know where that came from. We didn't say that," Baker said. "There's plenty of speculation every day. We'll let you know soon, then we can put it to rest and no more talking about [it]. I'm sure everybody has an opinion one way or the other no matter which way we go. It's a topic of discussion."

A decision either way on Chapman directly impacts fellow rotation candidate Mike Leake, who was the fifth starter last season. Leake is still scheduled to start on Friday vs. the Dodgers, with Chapman slated to follow from the bullpen.

Baker would not say how many innings Chapman was scheduled to pitch.

Chapman, 25, has a 2.25 ERA in three games this spring, including two starts.

Last season, Chapman was 5-5 with a 1.51 ERA and 38 saves in 43 attempts and was made the closer on May 20. In his 71 2/3 innings, he had 23 walks and 122 strikeouts over 68 appearances.

For at least another day, the speculation will continue on what the Reds do with Chapman and Leake.

Choo out of lineup Thursday, Opening Day in question

Walt Jocketty discusses trading for Shin-Soo Choo

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds leadoff hitter and center fielder Shin-Soo Choo remained out of the lineup for another day on Thursday as the Reds played the A's. Choo has not played since March 15 because of back spasms that flared up the morning after that game.

However, Choo went through his entire Thursday morning workout and batting practice. He appeared to be moving around well and showed no signs his back issues.

In 11 games this spring, Choo is batting .400 (10-for-25). With Spring Training about to head into its final week, will he be ready for Opening Day?

"We hope so," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We'd like to get him in within a week of starting, but again, you don't know. You try not to have any setbacks because that would make it worse."

Cueto: Mechanics to blame for rough outing vs. A's

Outlook: Cueto was stellar in '12 with 19 wins

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds' ace Johnny Cueto endured his worst outing of camp Thursday vs. the A's, lasting only 1 2/3 innings and allowing five runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout.

Cueto gave up all of his runs during the top of the second frame and was removed after he faced the inning's ninth batter. He blamed a mechanical hitch in his delivery for affecting his location.

"Everything was working well. I was just a little open," Cueto said through a translator. "I was up and a little open. I was trying, but I was unable to fix it. In the bullpen, everything was good. Everything was down."

The biggest hits were an opposite field two-run homer to right field by Derek Norris with one out and a two-out, two-run single lined to center field by Jed Lowrie.

Cueto, the expected Opening Day starter, threw 54 pitches vs. Oakland.

"Yes, I'm ready," Cueto said of his status for the regular season.

Cueto's likely final tuneup will come on Tuesday, when he is scheduled to pitch against the Cubs. This spring, he has a 7.02 ERA through five starts (16 2/3 innings).

"I'll just get ready for the next outing," Cueto said.

Worth noting

• Pitching in a Minor League game for Double-A Pensacola, reliever Jonathan Broxton walked one and struck out one over one scoreless inning. Broxton threw 18 pitches.