Last week there was at least the idea that Michael Lorenzen could possibly have returned to join the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend for the Milwaukee Brewers series to end the first half. The Reds opted to take a little more time and leave Lorenzen with Triple-A Louisville and to pitch this week with the Bats. They aren’t off for the All-Star break, so they had games scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the big league teams return to the field on Friday.

On Tuesday night Michael Lorenzen fired out a shutout inning in Nashville. He allowed a bloop single into center and he struck out two batters. That was his 5th inning of work on rehab and hit first hit allowed, too. But he had not yet pitched on back-to-back days – something that he would be asked to do once he joined the Reds. That changed on Wednesday night as he entered the game with two outs and a runner on in the 5th inning. After getting ahead in the count he gave up his first hit and his first earned run on rehab on a 423-foot home run off of the batters eye. He rebounded by striking out the next hitter he faced to close out the inning. In the top of the following inning he hit for himself, grounding a seeing-eye single up the middle to close out his night.

Jeff Hoffman has been on rehab for nearly a month as he’s working his way back from shoulder impingement. He made his first appearance on rehab with Louisville back on June 22nd. He pitched four times in Triple-A on his way back and allowed just three earned runs in 15.1 innings (1.76 ERA) while allowing 11 hits, 4 walks, and he struck out 20 batters. He threw 82 pitches the last time out, but the Reds are sending him out at least one more time. Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Wednesday evening that Hoffman would make a start on Friday night for the High-A Dayton Dragons. The assignment is likely due to the fact that Dayton is playing at home, while Louisville is on the road in Nashville and with Hoffman not traveling with the team it’s just easier to send him to Dayton to get in his work.

That will likely be the final rehab appearance for Hoffman. Pitchers can spend up to 30 days on a rehab assignment. When the right-handed pitcher takes the mound on Friday it will mark his 25th day on assignment. Unless he got out and only throws an inning, then he most certainly won’t be activated during the Brewers series at home which runs Friday through Sunday. But after that there will be a decision to be made as to not only where he fits in on the team – rotation or bullpen – but who will be sent out to make room for him on the roster. With Lorenzen likely returning on Friday, and with the team also hoping Sonny Gray returns without missing a start after the All-Star break, the team has three moves to make in short order that will significantly alter the pitching staff.

32 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    A healthy Lorenzen and Hoffman. A rested Sonny Gray. Soon a healthy Sims and then Antone. These can only improve a staff that’s been pitching well with an improving bullpen. I’d be excited for the second half even without these upgrades. With them the Reds should have their eyes firmly on a division championship. Now about that extension for Nick Castellanos…

    • Alan Horn

      My thoughts 100%. Especially on Castellanos.

  2. GreatRedLegsFan

    I guess Brach, Perez and Santillan go down to make room for Gray, Hoffman and Lorenzen.

    • Indy Red Man

      Brach had a 2.25 era til these last 3 appearances. I think they’ll give him another chance to reset. I’m guessing Hendrix or maybe they IL Warren?

      • Redsvol

        that’s a bingo! Hendrick, Santillan and Perez. All 3 have options and all 3 need to make improvements that we don’t have time to do at the major league level. I think all 3 will be productive members of major league team at some point this year or next.

      • MK

        After that early positive run he went way too long before his next appearance and lost his momentum. Poor staff management.

    • LDS

      Brach instead of Doolittle? His last two outings against Milwaukee stunk but overall hasn’t he pitched better than Doolittle? But there is the left/right thing.

    • RojoB

      Can’t send down Doolittle no options, Brach also? I’m guessing siento their ages and service times

      I’d rather keep Brach and option Hendrix if forced. Warren to IL also a possibility

      Speaking of that, any word in his injury?

      • LDS

        No options then DFA. He’s not exactly successful thus ar.

      • MK

        Wouldn’t it be a real a real shame to lose Doolittle?

  3. SultanofSwaff

    Easy decisions to send down Perez and Santillan……with Tony as rotation insurance. As for the third guy, it probably boils down to Hendrix vs. Doolittle unless Warren is an IL casualty. Hendrix has been trending up while Doolittle is treading water….barely. I’ll take the upside despite not having a lefty but the front office will likely think differently. That they’re building up Hoffman suggests he might take Vlad’s spot when he returns. I’m agnostic on that one–the strength of both is their fastball/slider combo. Both would be better suited for the bullpen imo.

    Barring injuries, the tougher decisions will be made when Sims and Antone are ready.

    But what I’m most curious about is what the team will do about Greene and Lodolo. Here you have two elite arms who could be lockdown relievers in the final 2 months. If you believe this team could compete for a championship, I don’t see how you keep them down.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree on Greene and Lodolo but many around these parts haven’t shake Chapmanitis that disease that once a prized prospect pitcher is used as a reliever he can never be returned to starting,

      • RojoB

        Greene would have to figure out AAA pretty quickly to show he could get MLB hitters out, wouldn’t he? So far he’s still finding his way, judging by the last couple of outings.

    • Old-school

      Lodolo has only throw 32 innings.
      Greene is at 63 innings.
      Id imagine they will start every 5 th day for july august to build innings mileage in 2021. I could see call ups in mid september if they are healthy and producing and got a good year of SP under their belt

    • Doc

      No hurry to make that decision. If Lorenzen comes back as good as he was, you have a proven lockdown reliever. If Antone and Sims come back at effective levels, you have your two lockdown relievers, and, unlike Greene and Lodolo, they are proven lockdown relievers. Then you have Garrett. Recent outings suggest a return to form. If that holds, you have the lockdown lefty. Too many people seem to jump ahead with their wishes without seriously considering what will be happening between now and then

  4. Indy Red Man

    I think Vlad has deserved to keep his spot in the rotation. He’s got a 2.85 era outside of the 2 SD starts. Its not like the Pads couldn’t have roughed up Hoffman too. When they’re healthy they’ll maul everyones 4th-5th starters. Hoffman’s stuff is good enough, but he couldn’t even go 5 in half his starts. To me it feels like Vlad has an extremely high baseball IQ for a rookie! 3 starts and 3 wins vs the Brewers! Its not easy to face the same team 3x in a short period of time.

    • Jefferson Green

      Agree on the Baseball IQ/maturity of Gutierrez; he has gotten stronger and better as a number of his starts progressed into the middle innings. I didn’t see that from Hoffman. While the fastball slider combo could play up in the bullpen, the maturity and tenacity to adjust and refine through a start is a strong asset.

      • Tomn

        No way Hoffman should replace Vlad as a starter. Gutierrez had shown moxie, has good stuff and has earned his spot. Hoffman fits in as a long reliever in my mind, barring and injury.

        Doolittle has actually impressed me vs what I saw in spring training. I’d take him over Hendrix for now. But it’s a close call.

  5. Klugo

    What’s the word on Sims and Antone? Any?
    How about Senzel and Moose?
    Could we have them all by the end of the month?

    • beelicker

      as of 7/11 report, Senzel had per Bell resumed some “running, taking ground balls and swinging the bat” … could be looking at some kind of discussion of a rehab targeting timeframe

      Mustakas ‘had thrown some’ but is still in a walking boot with some heel pain … i’d say he’s (optimistically) at least another month away but don’t get your hopes up

    • beelicker

      as of 7/13 Antone had still ‘not yet begun a throwing program’ post the PRP injection

      Really nothing on Sims since 7/4 and ‘targeting late July return’ so i’m thinking only Senzel is a possible return any time before mid-August and he’d be a long shot before the trade deadline

  6. doofus

    “The Reds might have had the strongest draft overall, or at least the strongest of any team drafting outside of the top 10.” ~Keith Law

  7. Tim

    Other contending teams are desperate for bp help. Trade Doolittle. Make room for the rookies and IL guys. Go with the guys that have the highest potential.

  8. vegastypo

    Backing up a bit, what is the benefit of putting Hoffman in the bullpen? Why even make room for him? We’re expecting a guy who “refuses” (Jeff Brantley’s word) to throw strikes — or is unable to consistently do so — in the early (low leverage) innings of a game to suddenly be able to throw strikes out of the bullpen? I don’t see how he helps the bullpen one bit unless it’s a 10-1 game. Mop up duty. DFA.

    I have no idea whether Doolittle’s recent decision to actually throw a breaking pitch makes him worth keeping around, either.

    • beelicker

      the thinking on Hoffman was that his stats the first time through the batting order were fine but that subsequent turns was where he constantly ran into escalating trouble … and that he could be an effective 2 or 3 pitch reliever possibly throwing harder or with more velocity in shorter stints

  9. Old-school

    Injury updates tomorrow should be interesting. Hopefully Lorenzen Gray and Hoffmann are back for at least the second part of the homestand

    Per Bell last weekend- Senzel had made progress and was doing baseball activities. Hopefully he starts a rehab assignment next week.Same for Sims

    I am most concerned about Antone.
    Warren had shown promise but its never good when a pitcher is pulled after a pitch that misses the catcher.

  10. MBS

    I would think Perez, and Hendrix are the 2 sent down. Only caveat would be if Warren goes to the IL, hopefully not. I’ve seen Santillan’s name above, but I don’t know why. He was transitioned into a reliever in AAA, so he could be added to the pen. He hasn’t even got his first appearance yet. If we are lucky enough to have Gray back, then it’s time to DFA Doolittle. His ERA looks decent at 4.11, but he has given up 11 of 13 inherited runners. I think the Reds have seen enough, I know I have.

    • 2020ball

      I personally keep Santillan stretched out as a SP, so I’m fine sending him down. Ideally I’d do keep Hoffman stretched out as well, but there are limited spots. I could honestly see them sending down Santillan and Gutierrez simply because thats how the options line up and it keeps out SP depth intact with everyone pitching every 5 days.

  11. Gonzo Reds

    Just see it was announced Gray will start Sunday against the Brewers. Nothing on who comes or goes along with that move.

    I like the idea of trading Doolittle if we can get a prospect back for him.

  12. Michael B. Green

    Reds could use some bullpen help to limit FB, BB and Hard% against LHB’s. Wonder if someone like Richard Bleier is a fit? Other options are Andrew Chafin and Daniel Norris. More pricey options are Taylor Rogers, Kimbrel and Rodriguez. Obviously, those last 3 guys offer more than just match-ups.