Sonny Gray’s back kept him out of the second half of spring training. He’s been getting treatment and in the last two weeks he’s been throwing off of the mound and pitching in simulated and intrasquad games. The alternate site in Louisville is where the Reds All-Star pitcher will head next to get some more work in.
“He’s doing well,” Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell said. “He pitched the other day in our intrasquad game. All indications are is he’s on track. It’s just a matter of time. We don’t have a date set. His next step will be in Louisville at the alternate site. It’s taking one more step towards getting back here. Increase the workload, increase the amount of pitches he throws and we’ll go from there.”
There’s a general progression of building up pitches as a guy works his way back. It’s usually in 15-20 pitch increments. In the intrasquad game the other day, Sonny Gray threw 43 pitches. That would put his next target around 60, and if things go well then, the next step would be 75-80. Depending on exactly how the Reds wanted to go about things, they could bring him up and activate him for that kind of start. Or they could let him get that one in at the alternate site and bring him up when he’s ready to throw 90 pitches or so. As Bell said, they don’t have a date set at this point, but things are moving in the right direction for Gray.
Shogo Akiyama will also head to Louisville
Shogo Akiyama last played in a game on March 13th. The Cincinnati Reds outfielder got one at-bat in the game that day against the Oakland Athletics, but left the game with a hamstring injury. Ever since then he’s been trying to work his way back. This weekend it was announced that Akiyama would be heading to Louisville to continue his rehab process at the Reds alternate site. How long he’ll be there and how quickly he will be able to return is still a bit up int he air.
“Obviously the earlier the better,” said Akiyama on Saturday. “I have timetables that the doctor has been predicting for me, but I don’t want to make that clear to myself. I don’t want to make that clear to myself yet just because that will give the clear cut date to pressure myself that I need to be ready by then. I’m just trying to take it step by step and taking my time now.”
In Louisville there will be games played between the Reds alternate site roster and three other regional alternate site rosters – and you can even buy tickets to watch the games. Those games will allow him to see live pitching that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to see unless he were back in Goodyear and playing in minor league games and almost assuredly facing lesser pitching.
Michael Lorenzen Update
Expected to be in the Cincinnati Reds rotation, Michael Lorenzen is still working his way back from a shoulder issue that popped up during spring training. After an initial shut down, Lorenzen returned to his throwing program but did suffer a recent setback that will keep him out a little bit longer than initially expected.
“He’s a little bit behind Sonny,” Bell said on Saturday. “He took a step back. He actually had a little bug the other day and recovered from that – not COVID related or anything like that. It’s not much further behind, but because of the small setback he had he’ll be a little bit behind Sonny.”