The Cincinnati Reds have placed Tejay Antone on the injured list with right forearm inflammation. This news was first reported earlier today by C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. Antone, who last pitched on Sunday did warm up to come into a game this past week, but did not get into the game. He was unavailable yesterday, though that was unknown until after the game was over. Now we know why. Rosecrans is reporting that the team hopes the stint on the injured list will be for the minimum amount of time. That may only be eight days because the move was retroactive to June 8th.
“I’m very confident that he’s going to be back in whatever it is, 7 or 8 days – his first day of eligibility to come off is,” said manager David Bell on Friday afternoon of Antone’s potential return. “Very confident. It’s something we just want to make sure we stay ahead of. It was never anything that kept him from pitching or was that concerning. But it did get to a point that it made sense to be ahead of it. For our season, for his career, it’s what we would do with any of our players. But I am confident he’ll be back next week.”
For Cincinnati the news couldn’t come at a worse time. Antone has been the only pitcher in the bullpen that has been reliable. In fact, he’s been the only one remotely close to the galaxy of reliable. The bullpen ERA for the Cincinnati Reds pitchers not named Tejay Antone is 6.58. Given that bullpens today are asked to pitch about 4-innings per game, that’s two runs on average given up in every game by the Reds bullpen.
Given the state of the bullpen outside of Tejay Antone whoever the team calls up to replace him for the time being probably isn’t going to be someone that will immediately be someone that manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson will feel comfortable to rely on. If that player existed that player most certainly would have already have been in Cincinnati given everything that’s happened in the bullpen this season.
It’s possible that the team could dip into the Triple-A Louisville Bats rotation to try and find a short-term bullpen solution. But one of those pitchers is also likely going to have to make a start on Sunday in Cincinnati to fill in for Sonny Gray who was placed on the injured list earlier this week when he left his start after the 4th inning with a groin injury.
In a highly questionable decision, the Reds are choosing to not make a corresponding roster move today. That means that the team will be playing a man short for at least tonight’s game against the Rockies. They’ll have to make an addition of Tony Santillan on Sunday as he’s been named the starter in place of Sonny Gray. The team may also activate Aristides Aquino on Sunday. While it would mean making a lot of moves in a short period of time, not playing with a full roster – particularly out of the bullpen when the bullpen has performed the way that it has is certainly a move that doesn’t make much sense.