March 05, 2016

MESA, Ariz. (AP) Miguel Montero went 3 for 3 with a home run for the Chicago Cubs, who lost 4-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Montero also singled and doubled in front of a crowd of 15,443 at Sloan Park. The veteran catcher is 5 for 5 so far this spring.

''I've been working on something a little different this year,'' Montero said. ''I'm trying to be quieter at the plate. I'm not quite there yet.''

Cubs right-hander Trevor Cahill threw two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the spring. He allowed two hits and struck out three.

''I was up a little bit in the zone to begin with and then calmed down,'' Cahill said. ''It was just getting the nerves out of the way the first time through.''

Cincinnati grabbed a 2-0 lead on catcher Tucker Barnhart's homer off Eric Jokisch in the third inning. The Reds also got a home run from non-roster invitee Phillip Ervin in the sixth.

Reds starter Brandon Finnegan struck out two in two scoreless innings in his second appearance.

''It was good to go out there and make good pitches,'' Finnegan said. ''(Barnhart) called a good game and I was hitting my spots pretty well today.''

STARTING TIME

Cubs: Cahill's role is undefined as the spring rolls on but he is confident he'll find a niche before opening day.

''Right now it is a different situation with four long guys,'' he said.

Reds: Finnegan, who was acquired in a July trade with Kansas City, is feeling much better than he did a year ago. He was hampered by a hamstring issue at the start of his last spring training with the Royals.

''I was competing for a pen job and I just wasn't in shape,'' he said. ''This year I came in shape, working as a starter and everything is going well.''

LINEUP LUXURY

Cubs manager Joe Maddon started messing around with potential lineups Friday night and liked the outlook of the offense this year, including the continuation of hitting the pitcher eighth and shortstop Addison Russell ninth.

''It's a nice problem to have,'' Maddon said of trying to find spots for everyone. ''I've always talked about sending the lineup over to the other side and they look for that hole. `Who can we pitch around to get to this guy?' It is very difficult when there really is no soft spot. It just moves really good hitters down in the lineup.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: OF Matt Murton, a non-roster invitee, is making his way back from an appendectomy on Feb. 27. He has been increasing his activity, but hasn't appeared in a game yet.

Reds: Starter Raisel Iglesias threw a bullpen session and is expected to throw to hitters on Tuesday, with designs of appearing in a game on March 14. The Reds held the Cuban right-hander back a little longer after his first year in the big leagues was shut down on Sept. 13 due to concerns about his shoulder.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Adam Warren makes his Cubs debut on Sunday against Patrick Corbin and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Field.

Reds: RHP Jon Moscot makes his second appearance when Cincinnati hosts Colorado on Sunday. Christian Bergman is expected to pitch for the Rockies.

KEEPING IT CLEAN

Reds manager Bryan Price has been happy with the control for his pitchers four games into the spring. The staff has walked 12 in the first 45 innings in five games.

''We are throwing the ball over the plate,'' he said. ''I know that sounds really simple and rudimentary but when you look at the number of walks in these first five games and that's pretty good. It certainly helps.''

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