Sonny Gray is close to returning to the Cincinnati Reds rotation. Manager David Bell spoke this evening in his pre-game press conference with the media today and said that Gray would throw a simulated game tomorrow, and would then pitch five days later. Of course, the Reds don’t play five days later – that would be Thursday the 15th, which is an off day. But Cincinnati returns home to open a 6-game home stand that Friday with Cleveland. There could be a chance we see him sooner, though.
“Sonny is going to throw a simulated game and hopefully everything goes smooth and then be ready to go next time around, potentially, 5 days from tomorrow,” said Bell. “There may be a chance we may be able to use him on this road trip, but we’ll see. We’ll have to see how it goes tomorrow. All signs are pointing that he’s healthy and ready to go.”
For Sonny Gray it will be his first start for the Reds since early March during spring training. He only pitched in one game for the Reds in Goodyear, allowing a solo home run in 2.0 innings. His next start came on the backfields, and then he was shut down after that as he began to experience back spasms. He wasn’t out long before he returned to a throwing program, but it did set him back a few weeks. Earlier this week he pitched at the Reds alternate site in Louisville and threw 4.2 innings and 60 pitches against the Kansas City Royals alternate site team.
While both José De León and Jeff Hoffman have filled in great their first time through the rotation, when Sonny Gray returns one of them is going to find their way out. For as good as their first starts were, and no matter how good the second ones could possibly be – Sonny Gray is one of the best pitchers in the league and since the Reds won’t be going to a 6-man rotation, the bullpen or the alternate site rotation is likely going to get a boost from one of those guys as they make room for Gray in the rotation.
Since joining the Reds in an offseason trade after the 2018 season, Sonny Gray has made 42 starts and thrown 231.1 innings with 277 strikeouts and a 3.07 ERA. He made the All-Star team in 2019, but didn’t pitch in the game.