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Reds LH Cingrani leaves game with back strain

Tuesday - 8/20/2013, 9:04pm  ET

Cincinnati Reds' Tony Cingrani pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati on Tuesday Aug. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

JOE KAY
AP Baseball Writer

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Left-hander Tony Cingrani strained his lower back during the fourth inning of Cincinnati's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night and left for treatment.

The injury gives the Reds a new concern as they try to catch Pittsburgh and St. Louis atop the N.L. Central. They got their lineup back to full strength when left fielder Ryan Ludwick returned from a shoulder injury last week. The cleanup hitter had been sidelined since tearing cartilage in his right shoulder while sliding into base on opening day.

Now, they have to figure out what to do with the rotation.

Cingrani retired the first 10 batters before Martin Prado homered. One out later, Aaron Hill doubled on Cingrani's 54th pitch, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. That's when a trainer and manager Dusty Baker went out to talk to Cingrani, who was replaced by Alfredo Simon.

Cingrani has made 16 starts this season, filling in while Johnny Cueto remains on the disabled list with soreness behind his pitching shoulder. The 24-year-old pitcher also has made five relief appearances.

It's unclear when Cueto will be back. He's made only nine starts this season because of the shoulder problems.

The defending NL Central champions opened the day 2½ games behind the first-place Pirates and 1½ games behind the Cardinals. They led the Diamondbacks by six games for the final NL wild card.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay


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