Sampson was assigned to the Diamondbacks' minor league camp Monday, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports. Sampson, who joined the Diamondbacks in spring training as a non-roster invitee, was competing for a bullpen gig, but wasn't able to make enough an impression to claim a roster spot. He'll be stretched out as a starter in the minors, likely serving as organizational depth at Triple-A Reno.
Sampson signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks on Saturday that includes an invite to spring training, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. The soon-to-be 26-year-old will compete for a bullpen role in camp after being non-tendered by the Reds. Sampson worked mostly in relief last season, posting a 22.2 percent strikeout rate (10.2 percent swinging-strike) but also a 14.4 percent walk rate. He was touched up for nine home runs in just 39.1 innings, with seven of those coming on the road.
The Reds declined to tender Sampson a contract Friday, making him a free agent, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. He was bumped from the 40-man roster Monday and Sampson is now officially free to explore his other options. Sampson's days are a starter may be over regardless of where he lands, although he did turn in a couple of decent starts for Cincinnati late in the year.
Sampson was designated for assignment by the Reds on Monday. The 25-year-old was forced into action at the major league level prematurely in 2015, but he wasn't able to right the ship during his second stint in Cincinnati, leading the Reds to hand his 40-man roster spot to a more worthy candidate. Sampson has shown some flashes of success, boasting an improved strikeout rate as a member of the Reds bullpen last season, although he'll likely spend 2017 as an organizational depth piece until he can show more command of his pitches.
Sampson is not the scheduled starter for Tuesday's game against the Cubs. Sampson was originally thought to be in line to enter the rotation for a turn against the Cubs, but it seems the Reds changed their minds and will instead have Josh Smith take the hill against their division rivals. It's unclear if or when Sampson will get a chance to start again this season, but that could become clearer as the rest of the month plays out.
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