The Cincinnati Reds will have some help in the bullpen today as they try to salvage a game in Minnesota and end their current 5-game losing streak. Reliever Tejay Antone has been activated from the injured list today after some forearm fatigue
after carrying the bullpen for the first two months of the season by himself. He’ll take the spot on the roster of Scott Heineman, who was optioned back to Triple-A Louisville to join the Bats. The Reds also announced that right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman would be heading to Louisville to begin a rehab assignment.
Getting back Tejay Antone is huge for the Reds and for the bullpen. He’s been the only reliable, and the only consistent performer for David Bell out of the bullpen this season. Only Lucas Sims has been even average among the rest of the crew that has been run through this season. Antone, of course, has been far better than reliable and consistent. He’s been dominant. He’s thrown 32.0 innings over 20 appearances and allowed just 12 hits, has a 1.41 ERA, and he’s struck out 40 of the 116 hitters that he’s faced this season – that’s 35% for those of you who are keeping track at home.
While there was a short time there when the bullpen stepped up in his absence, that didn’t last very long. The bullpen simply needs better options in it, and despite the words from the owner yesterday to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty that “if we have an opportunity to improve the bullpen, we will”, actions speak louder than words and it’s June 22nd and the non-Tejay Antone relievers on the Cincinnati Reds have an ERA of 6.13 and last checked, the team had not acquired anyone to help the bullpen and instead continue to just bring up and send out relievers who have struggled in both Triple-A and the Major Leagues this year for the organization.
Jeff Hoffman could potentially be helpful for the bullpen in Cincinnati. He’s had some struggles at times as a starter this season, but his 4.61 ERA this year is good for a league average 100 ERA+. The first time through the lineup he’s held hitters to a .662 OPS. But the second time through the lineup he’s been crushed to the tune of .279/.416/.508 – a .924 OPS. Out of the bullpen he’s not going to be facing hitters for a second time in a game. And he’s been solid against guys the first time – though his walk rate has still been quite high in this scenario. He’ll head out for a rehab assignment today with Triple-A Louisville. As of right now how long he’ll be there has not been stated.