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.