The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price after the team toiled through a 3-15 start in his fifth season with the club.
The Reds said in a statement Thursday morning that pitching coach Mack Jenkins has also been fired. Bench coach Jim Riggleman was named Cincinnati's interim manager. The statement said the Reds will conduct a search for a permanent manager "later in the year."
"We felt we had to act now. We couldn't afford to wait," general manager Dick Williams said during a conference call. "I know it seems early to some people and it certainly is early in the regular season, but ... we've had a lot of chances to observe this group together and see them get off to the start we'd hoped, and it wasn't there."
The move came during an off day in St. Louis, where the Reds will start a three-game series against the Cardinals on Friday. The Reds are coming off back-to-back shutout losses in Milwaukee, the first time they were blanked in consecutive games since 2015.
The Reds are nine games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.
Riggleman said his focus will be "to really put an exclamation point on the details of the game." Eight of the Reds' losses have been by two runs or less.
"We've got to show up for work every day," Williams said. "They've got to have a sense of urgency to win that day. They have to play the game hard and play it smart and play it right. We have to get this team playing that way because we know they have the ability to do that."
Overall, Price's record with the Reds was 279-387. Since becoming the Reds' manager in 2014, he never had a winning record. The Reds have lost at least 94 games and finished last in the NL Central in each of the past three seasons.
Triple-A Louisville manager Pat Kelly was named Cincinnati's bench coach and Double-A Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin was added to the major league staff.
The Reds suffered significant injuries during spring training and got off to their worst start since the Depression while drawing small crowds at Great American Ball Park. Top starter Anthony DeSclafani is sidelined indefinitely with a strained oblique -- after missing all of last season with an elbow injury -- and left-hander Brandon Finnegan has been limited to one start by a biceps injury.
The offense also has taken significant hits. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez got a seven-year, $66 million contract during spring training -- Cincinnati's first significant deal during its rebuild -- but he broke his right thumb when he was hit by a pitch April 8 and is sidelined indefinitely. Right fielder Scott Schebler also is out with a bruised elbow.
Price was given the job of leading the Reds during a massive overhaul. Cincinnati won the division twice during Dusty Baker's six-year tenure and went to the playoffs three times but couldn't get beyond the first round. Baker was fired after they lost the wild-card game to Pittsburgh in 2013, and Price was promoted from pitching coach.
The Reds lost 86 games in Price's first season, and the organization decided to begin a rebuild that involved trading every star player except Joey Votto and Homer Bailey. They have brought up rookie pitchers before they were ready to fill in while DeSclafani, Finnegan and Bailey were hurt.
Thirty-two Reds players have made their major league debuts in the past three seasons, the most in the majors. In the past four seasons, they have had a rookie start 254 of 504 games. Rookies made a club-record 110 starts in 2015, when the Reds lost 98 games.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.