The team also re-assigned eight players to minor league camp, including infielder
"It felt good," Stephenson said.
Stephenson was held back a few days at the start of camp to protect the shoulder, which has been sore at times throughout his minor-league career. He was named the No. 23 overall prospect by Baseball America this offseason a year after ranking 19th.
Stephenson went 7-10 with a 4.75 ERA and 140:74 K:BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings with Double-A Pensacola in 2014.
Stephenson may not open the year in the majors, but is hoping he arrives sooner rather than later. "My goal by the end of the year is to be in Cincinnati," Stephenson said. "It's your dream growing up as a kid. It would be awesome to be there but at the same time, I want to get to a point where I deserve to be there and belong there."
Stephenson is considered the team's top prospect. He dealt with shoulder issues earlier in camp, but is cleared for action now.
Manager Bryan Price said Stephenson has a few things to work on, but seemed optimistic about his long-term outlook. With Robert, it's command -- not necessarily throwing strikes, but the quality of the strikes," Price said.
The 22-year-old should start the year in the minors, but could earn a promotion based on how well he pitches.
Stephenson had been held back as a precaution to protect his shoulder, but Stephenson said his shoulder is healthy.
"It feels really good," he said.
The team is holding Stephenson back for precautionary reasons. Robertson has had bouts of shoulder soreness throughout his minor-league career, so the team wants to be sure his shoulder is strong before pushing him. Stephenson is considered the team's top prospect, and should break into the club's rotation at some point this season.
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