Will Anthony DeSclafani pitch this season for the Reds? It’s less than a sure thing.

In an injury update recently, C. Trent Rosecrans of Cincinnati.com shared:

RHP Anthony DeSclafani (elbow) was examined in Cincinnati on Friday and there was not enough progress to begin a throwing program, Price said. He’ll be re-examined in a couple of weeks, (Manager Bryan) Price said.

DeSclafani’s injury has been reported as a ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sprain of the right elbow. Of course, injuries to the UCL often result in the dreaded “Tommy John” surgery, a surgical graft procedure in which the ulnar collateral ligament is replaced with either a tendon from elsewhere from the patient’s own body, or the use of a tendon from the donated tissue of a cadaver.

There has been no official or even unofficial indication that DeSclafani is facing Tommy John surgery. But keep in mind what a sprain is. According to the Mayo Clinic, a sprain “is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints.” It’s the next worst thing to a tear, and as Mayo says, may even include tearing.

To be very clear, this is mere speculation at this point. But we have Homer Bailey, who has now had at least two surgical procedures on his pitching arm, who is getting ready to begin his throwing and rehab after a “cleanup” surgery in March. DeSclafani, who has not had any previous arm or elbow issues, won’t even be re-examined until mid-May.

It’s been around two months since DeSclafani was shut down in spring training. In March, Zach Buchanan of Cincinnati.com tweeted that DeSclafani’s injury is similar to the one which forced Michael Lorenzen to miss three months in 2016:

Presuming that is correct, we will hopefully see DeSclafani in July. The fact that there is no timeline to speak of yet, though, sparks a degree of concern because of the number of pitching injuries that have struck the Reds staff in particular the past two years. In this case, no news does not seem like good news.

When you ask yourself why Bronson Arroyo, Scott Feldman, and Tim Adleman are getting starts, remember that starters DeSclafani, Bailey and Brandon Finnegan are on the disabled list. This after 2016, when SIX starting pitchers were on the disabled list early in the season.

This year’s injuries have served to set back the development of the pitching staff. We’ve seen some folks pitching (Rookie Davis and Sal Romano, to name two) who aren’t yet ready. One of Dick Williams’ stated goals as part of the rebuilding roadmap is not to rush players to the majors before they are ready, and the injuries have forced some detours from that plan.

In the “year of sorting,” it was important to pass judgment on whether Bailey can or should be counted on as a starter moving forward, and that has been delayed. Now Reds fans must hope that the full extent of DeSclafani’s injury is more similar to Lorenzen’s than Bailey’s. The loss of a potential front-of-the-rotation starter would be dreadful for a team that has precious few of them at the moment.

13 Responses

  1. Jim Walker

    On the Reds radio Beat Reporter segment last night, @ZachENQ speculated that a best case scenario for Bailey was late June/ early July and for Desclafani mid/ late July.

  2. IndyRedMan

    Its depressing! You turn on the Reds game and see hundreds of excited fans at the game. Our pitching is always at the bottom of the league year after year. We need help and we sign guys like Feldman or pull Arroyo off the scrap heap. Meanwhile the Cubs will pickup Ervin Santana or the cream of the crop of whats available. I’m a fan of history and its like the Japanese trying to keep up with the American industrial production in WW2. They had zero chance.

    • Jim Walker

      I don’t disagree with you. However, going back to the debacle of the Reds finding themselves in the situation of 4 with their 5 rotation starters being in a walk away season in 2014 and a previous rotation starter (Arroyo) having left at the end of the previous season, it seems to me reasonable to expect that by now they would have developed at least one internal replacement.

  3. IndyRedMan

    Replace “Don’t even need to go expensive” to “Won’t and wouldn’t if they could”.
    We have so many injuries that I don’t know who we would trade? They made a few good trades but Cueto, Chapman, and Frazier are gone. Votto is the only guy left that could bring difference makers to the organization. They could trade Duvall or Schebler or whoever but they’re not bringing in game-changers in return!

  4. Jim Walker

    It doesn’t help the Reds any that the two guys who this time last year were considered their top near MLB ready pitching prospects, Stephenson and Reed, aren’t even being being used as starting pitchers.

    Both of them averaged just short of 5IP per MLB start in 2016. Yet despite being healthy, as far as we know, this year they are in some sort of in between never never land while the team looks at a couple different guys as starters rather than trying to push RS and CR ahead.

  5. Jim Walker

    At this point they’d get no added value for Reed or Stephenson because they won’t use them in any sort of leverage situation…..

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I think those two need to earn a chance to be used in a leverage situation. Neither has, in my opinion. Reed had his chance and couldn’t handle it against the Cubs.

  6. ben

    “When you ask yourself why Bronson Arroyo, Scott Feldman, and Tim Adleman are getting starts, remember that starters DeSclafani, Bailey and Brandon Finnegan are on the disabled list.”

    I was going to post something like this in reply to another article that was posted today. I’d like to see the pair of stones on the guy in Reds FO calling for the young guys to hurry up and start throwing 7 innings every 5-6 days.

  7. bouwills

    I’m sure Williams would like to find some sp help for the Reds, but trading away our minor league prospects would be counterproductive to the long term success of this franchise. I think it would take Suarez (plus a prospect) to get a good young starting pitcher. Anything less & Reds would be hoping for a bargain. We don’t need any more bargains.


    Reed and Stephenson have showed nothing. Players need to earn playing time through performance in the minors or on the MLB roster. Both Reed and Stephenson have not earned anything. They are throwers not pitchers. I was at the game last night. Reed has no idea where he is throwing the ball .His pitches miss by feet not inches. Stephenson has the same problem They look like busts,

    • Nick Carrington

      Same thing people said about Cueto and Bailey when they struggled for years. Same thing people were likely saying about Greg Maddux when he had an ERA of 5.52 and 5.61 his first two years. Reed and Stephenson may not end up being any good at the MLB level, but it’s way too early to write them off.