Mark Sheldon just reported that the Reds have adjusted their starting rotation for the upcoming road trip. What hints, if any, does the switch imply for the Reds’ plans when Johnny Cueto returns? Let the wild (and fun) speculation begin. The Reds’ rotation originally was:

Tuesday (Miami): Homer Bailey

Wednesday (Miami): Mike Leake

Thursday (Miami): Tony Cingrani

Friday (Philly): Mat Latos

Saturday (Philly): Bronson Arroyo

Sunday (Philly): Homer Bailey

Today’s announced tweak has Cingrani and Latos switching places. Cingrani will pitch Friday night Philly and Mat Latos moves up to Thursday’s game in Miami.

The switch might be designed to take advantage of Cingrani’s left-handedness against the heart of the Phillies lineup of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. On the other hand, Citizen Bank Park is a much harder place to pitch than Miami’s vacant stadium. Why move the rookie into a hostile venue?

The switch might be related to the catcher rotation, but I doubt it. Latos and Leake would be throwing back to back and those are the two pitchers that Devin Mesoraco will likely catch. It means Hanigan would have to catch three games in a row.

Mark Sheldon wonders whether the switch is related to Johnny Cueto’s return. Cueto is scheduled to pitch tomorrow (Tuesday) night at Dayton, meaning he could return Sunday in Philadelphia. That’s Homer Bailey’s current slot and I think we can safely assume Cueto isn’t actually going to replace Bailey.

As Sheldon points out, Cueto could slide into Monday’s start – replacing Mike Leake – in New York against the Mets. That would reset the top of the rotation with Cueto ahead of Latos. The rotation would then be Cueto, Latos, Cingrani,  Arroyo and Bailey.

On the other hand, Cueto could take Leake’s place and then Leake moves back to take Cingrani’s next start, and the left-hander gets sent back to AAA. That would still accomplish the goal of re-setting the rotation with Cueto and Latos at the top.

Of course, all this speculation assumes Johnny Cueto makes it through his rehab start without further problems. And maybe the switch could mean nothing more than wanting to keep Latos on his regular schedule or some other quirky reason to move Cingrani back.