The Cincinnati Reds had until noon today to cut their active roster from 30 players down to 28 players. The team made the moves official right at noon, optioning right-handed pitcher Tejay Antone and utility man Josh VanMeter to the alternate roster at Prasco Park.
That’s got to be a tough day for Tejay Antone, who has made two appearances for the Reds this season – throwing 4.1 innings of 1-hit baseball in relief of Wade Miley and then starting last night against Cleveland and throwing another 4.1 innings of 1-run baseball. In his two games he’s got a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 innings with three hits, five walks, and nine strikeouts. But he won’t be available to pitch for a few days because he just started last night and with five other pitchers already in the rotation, you can sort of make sense of the move. Of course, given the bullpen struggles, sliding him into the bullpen and optioning someone who was struggling there could have easily been an argument to be made, too.
For Josh VanMeter the move may be a bit easier to argue for. The left-handed hitter has gone hitless this season in 14 at-bats, while walking twice and being hit by a pitch. The 25-year-old is hardly the only player struggling at the plate for the team right now, so there certainly could have been other options that could have been made for Cincinnati – but 0-14 is a start that no one can really argue against being a move that was one that didn’t make sense.
More new rules for MLB
Late last night it was made official that the 28-man rosters set today will remain at 28 players through the end of the playoffs. The previous rule was that teams would move to 26 player rosters in another two weeks, but with the rate at which pitchers are being injured this season both sides agreed to keep the rosters at 28 moving forward.
Another rule change is that taxi squads for road trips are being expanded from up to three players to up to five players. Teams don’t have to bring the maximum number of players with them – the Reds haven’t done so either time they’ve gone on the road thus far this year – but the option is now there for them to carry five players with them if they would like.
When it comes to COVID-19 related rules, players and staff that are not on the field must have a mask on at all times that covers both their nose and their mouth. There will also need to additional “outdoor space” for teams rather than just having everyone congregated within the clubhouse where the air is circulated around and making transmission – if it’s present – more easily contracted.