Reds lose to the Indians again, this time 4-2. Many more bright spots today, however.

Chief among those bright spots were a couple of young pitchers:

Baker got his first look at pitching prospects Mike Leake and Travis Wood against major-league hitters. Wood worked two hitless innings and Leake, a first-round pick in 2009, pitched a perfect seventh. Each had one strikeout.

“It was the first time I’ve seen Wood,” Baker said of the second-round choice in 2005 who had a 1.21 ERA a year ago in the Double-A Southern League. “He threw the ball great. Leake threw the ball as well as Wood. He moved it around changed speeds. He had an idea of what he was doing.”

I’ve been saying for weeks that I thought Matt Maloney had the inside track on the fifth starter spot. Wood, however, is a serious wild-card in the race for that role on the major league roster. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see him blow by the competition to win a job. Reminds me of Johnny Cueto a couple of years ago, when no one expected him to make the roster.

Leake isn’t going to make the Opening Day roster, but he could be on the fast track. I watched him play several times last year, when he was a senior at Arizona State. The kid knows how to pitch. Period.

Back on the topic of Cueto, he started today’s game, giving up four runs in two innings. Only two of those runs were earned, and everyone seems to agree that he was throwing the ball well. Then there’s this:

Reds manager Dusty Baker was more impressed with right-hander Johnny Cueto trying to give a postgame interview in English.

“Go on, Johnny Cueto,” Baker said of the Dominican Republic native. “That’s improvement right there.”

Good for Cueto, making an effort on that front. It can only help his marketability. Of course, I’m much more concerned about his pitching, but I’m expecting a big season out of the young guy, after skipping winter ball.

So much young pitching talent. Me happy.