Jackson Stephens, who helped Oxford High win a Class 6A state baseball title in 2012, received a call-up to the parent Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
He’ll meet up with the team in Toronto on Wednesday and do bullpen work then travel back to Cincinnati for a Friday game against the Atlanta Braves.
The Cincinnati Reds included the 23-year-old right-hander among players named to the parent club’s 40-man expanded last fall. He joined right-hander Barrett Astin, right-hander Keury Mella, right-hander Nick Travieso, outfielder Aristides Aquino, outfielder Phillip Ervin and outfielder Jesse Winker.
The expanded roster includes all players who are eligible for call-up to the 25-man active roster at any given time. All are signed to major league contracts.
Stephens was among the players the Red chose to extend once their minor league contracts were up.
He spent spring training with the parent club then began the season with Triple-A Louisville, where he’s 3-3 with a 5.79 ERA in 51⅓ innings over 10 starts.
Stephens was a multi-sport standout at Oxford and starred on Yellow Jackets’ 2012 Class 6A title team in baseball. He signed with the Reds out of high school.
He spent the 2016 season with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos, going 8-11 with a save and 3.33 ERA in 27 appearances, including 26 starts. He struck out 131 batters with 41 walks in 151⅓ innings pitched.
In five-plus seasons with five minor-league teams, Stephens is 29-36 with a 3.90 ERA and 399 strikeouts in 501 innings.
Stephens changed to a more high-intensity offseason training program between the 2015 and 2016 seasons and added velocity, notching up into the 92- to 93-mph range, hitting 95 at times.
That and the fact that he has just 133 walks in five-plus seasons helped him make the 40-man roster with three other pitchers, some older than him.
The Reds have had a run of pitching injuries, with Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, Amir Garrett and Nick Travieso on the disabled list. The club has struggled to find answers in the starting rotation, as evidenced by the Reds’ 17-2 loss in Toronto on Monday.