Tejay Antone has arguably been the best pitcher in Cincinnati Reds spring training this year. On Sunday afternoon he got the start for the Reds against the San Diego Padres. Between the 3rd and 4th inning he took the mound for his warm up pitches and after a few of them he felt something in his hamstring, and after Mike Moustakas noticed it, too, Antone called out for the trainer.
“I’m good,” Antone said after the game. “I was just warming up for the 4th inning. Felt like a little tweak. I was going to stretch it and just kind of continue, and Moustakas saw me stretching it and kind of said something like ‘don’t push it’, and I was like ‘yeah, he’s probably right, shouldn’t push anything right now’ so I just called out the trainer. I think I’ll be fine. I told the trainer I think I’ll be able to make my next start – it’s just a small little tweak.”
That’s really good news on a day in which the team may have found out that Sonny Gray could miss the first week of the regular season after he takes a few extra days off to try and sort out some back spasm issues that have popped up. While Cincinnati has some starting pitching depth, you never want to have to use it and potentially losing two-fifths of your rotation in the middle of the spring isn’t ideal. With that said, Tejay Antone still isn’t sure whether he’s a starter or a reliever from the perspective of the team.
“They don’t tell me anything (laughs),” said Antone. “Right now it looks like I’m on the starters trail, keep building up innings. I did go out there for the 4th inning, so technically I got my 4th up and down. I only had about 10 more pitches to go to reach my limit. So if you count my 5 warm up pitches I feel like I’m right where I need to be. I didn’t get to finish the inning, but I feel like I’m right where I need to be. I feel great, my arm feels great, offspeed pitches feel great. Nurse my leg back to health and I’ll be good to go.”
Sunday saw Antone charged with three unearned runs to go along with one earned run – his first of the spring. He’s thrown 7.2 innings so far, allowed just six hits, walked three batters, and he’s picked up 13 strikeouts. While spring training stats don’t tell us much, the reports of his stuff back up those numbers quite well. He’s looked like he’s just carried forward what we all saw him do last year with the big league club as a rookie.
With a hamstring injury, even if it’s just a minor thing, we’ll probably get a better idea in a day or two where things stand. Antone feels confident that he’s going to be able to pitch when it’s his normal turn this upcoming week. Assuming he stays on a 5-day schedule, that’s Friday night at 10:05pm against the San Francisco Giants (if he pitches in an A-game instead of a B-game).