The hits just keep on coming, but not in the way Cincinnati Reds baseball fans would like. A little more than an hour prior to the game on Saturday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves the Reds announced that right-handed reliever Tejay Antone was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain. The team called up left-handed reliever Cionel Pérez to take his place in the bullpen.

Injuries are up across the board in Major League Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds haven’t been immune to landing players on the injured list. For Tejay Antone this is now his third injury of the year. He missed time late in spring training, but did begin the season on time. He had also just returned from the injured list this past week – pitching in two games – before now returning to the injured list.

Cionel Pérez is coming back up. This season he’s posted an 8.31 ERA in 17.1 innings for the Reds with 18 walks and 13 strikeouts. He’s found far more success in Triple-A where he’s allowed just one run in 11.1 innings, walking three (one was intentional) and striking out 15 (all of these were intentional).

The Reds bullpen is in bad shape. In the last week they’ve placed their two best relievers on the injured list between Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims. Brad Brach has stepped up nicely in his 15 games, but he’s thrown just 14.1 innings so far this season. Art Warren has performed well, too, but he’s thrown just 8.2 innings. The bullpen, minus Tejay Antone, has an ERA of 6.16 on the season. It’s been an unmitigated disaster, and help probably isn’t on the way anytime soon.

Last week we heard that Bob Castellini would be open to the idea of improving the bullpen if the opportunity presented itself. Nick Krall mentioned the team was waiting to get healthy to see what they needed.

The bullpen could be improved by acquiring almost anyone. Their ERA is over 6.00 if you remove Tejay Antone from it.

Health isn’t exactly going to fix things. Michael Lorenzen isn’t due back until after the All-Star break if he continues to remain healthy. That’s three weeks. And he’s one guy. Jeff Hoffman is currently rehabbing in Louisville and is probably 10 days away, but he’s just someone you hope can perform a little better as a reliever and has plenty of questions around how much help he could be. Sonny Gray is supposed to have a rehab start tonight for Louisville and if all goes well return to the rotation after that. But that may just send Tony Santillan back to Triple-A rather than to the big league bullpen where he could probably help out some.

There aren’t exactly easy answers to fixing the problem right this second. But waiting around for healthy guys to return certainly isn’t the answer. Trades are nice, but those are going to cost other players and money since teams aren’t exactly keen on moving quality players who make no money. And nothing we’ve seen in the last 9 months suggests the ownership group wants to actually spend money to try and improve this baseball team.

21 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Is this the same reason he was just on the IL or is this a new, different injury?

  2. James K

    Thanks for distinguishing between intentional and unintentional strikeouts. Not many commentators bother to do that.

    • Doc

      Must be from the pitcher’s perspective, not the hitter’s!

  3. burtgummer01

    I’m sure there’ll be some not smart people that blame David Bell

    • LDS

      Actually, in this case, the focus should be on the pitching program. As for Bell? The day is young. I’m sure he’ll give us reasons to be critical before the day is out.

  4. Redsvol

    wow, just wow. I hate it for Tejay and all the other injured players. If he needs surgery I hope they decide quickly and get it done so he doesn’t miss all of next year too. Seems like GM is gonna have to bring in some unsigned free agents and independent ball guys to piece this together for a couple months. There isn’t much on the 40 man roster to choose from that is healthy.

  5. Bred

    Guys who lived by the spin are dying by the lack of it. They are getting injured because of changes to their mechanics. Perhaps, after owners see enough pitchers get hurt, they will tell Manfred to stuff this initiative. I guess Bell must be wondering when ace reliever, Blandino, will be back.

  6. Old-school

    Braves lost soroka with achilles tear today……again. Its an epidemic.
    But have to adjust.

    Need more pitchers and less max intensity throwers. Need 4 outfielders 2 catchers 5 infielders and a ton of pitchers.

    Reds cant afford to allocate $100 million + to players over 30.

  7. J

    I would love to hear from some of the folks who’ve repeatedly defended Bell’s use of the bullpen based on the fanciful notion that he and Johnson have some sort of magic formula for avoiding pitching injuries due to overwork. Can we all just acknowledge there’s no magic formula, that there’s no clear relationship between a pitcher’s workload and likelihood of injury, and that it’s basically just a series of hunches and gut feelings driving these decisions?

  8. Tom Mitsoff

    Just a feeling, but this is not going to end well …

  9. Michael

    kinda off-topic…Mac Sceroler is back from the Orioles

  10. Old-school

    This is not just the Reds.
    Its a league wide epidemic and the pandemic that shut down 2020 led to things like Trevor Bauer pitching to Derek Dietrich in the middle of a desert in april. This is just proof how important access to MLB facilities and workout/recovery regimens are.

    I do think there is something to the max effort year round pitch design spin rate philosophy. Human bodies arent cyborgs- Mikey Biceps is proving that.

    I feel bad for Antone. I was fortunate to randomly sit near his family at a game early in the season and they were so nice and accessible. Wonderful people and it so happened that he hadnt pitched much due to team success but was called in for a batter and got him out. Reds then had a big inning and he was pulled to save him and rest him for a higher leverage situation.
    Its just unfortunate. Hope the Reds are just being cautious like Sonny Gray

  11. TR

    Cionel is back. Bob Castellini is certainly aware of the idea of improving the bullpen. Castoffs and unproven pitchers are not going to get it done. The manager has to use what he has available. Doug’s last sentence says it all.

  12. MBS

    Looking at C Perez’s AAA numbers (low BB) would say he’s real good, but watching him in the MLB (high BB) would say he’s real bad. Maybe we get lucky, and get the strike throwing Perez this time, obviously it’s between the ears for him.

  13. Roger Garrett

    You just play with what you have to play with.Don’t look good for Antone but Reds will play 90+ games so it is what it is.

  14. Ap

    I’m kinda lost in the fact they’re not calling up O’Brien and De Leon. Yes, before I get bashed, I’ve looked at their numbers; however, running out the same guys is insane. Just my opinion, please don’t sue me.