The Cincinnati Reds have some decisions to make with regards to their bullpens and they don’t have much time to figure them out, either. Right-handed relievers Tejay Antone and Michael Feliz are both currently on rehab assignments with the Triple-A Louisville Bats. The expectation is that Antone will return on Tuesday and be activated for the series in Milwaukee against the Brewers. The decision with Antone isn’t so much about him as much as what move will be made to the roster in order to create a spot for Antone.
Tejay Antone last pitched for the Reds on June 24th. That will make it two months of time off of the big league mound. He’s been on rehab with the Bats for the last two weeks and has pitched in seven games. He’s thrown 6.2 innings with two earned runs, four hits, three walks, and 10 strikeouts on rehab.
For Michael Feliz there’s less expectation that he will be activated on Tuesday and more of a situation where he’s out of day on his rehab assignment. He began his most recent rehab assignment on July 24th (he was brought back after three appearances on his first rehab assignment when his arm wasn’t quite recovering after outings as expected). Things didn’t get out to a great start as he allowed seven runs in 5.2 innings in his first five games. But since then he’s really turned things around on his rehab stint, allowing one run on two hits in 8.0 innings without a walk and with seven strikeouts.
Michael Feliz not only would require a spot on the 26-man roster, but he would also require a spot on the 40-man roster as he’s currently on the 60-day injured list. The latter spot will be easy to find because the current 40-man roster only has 38 players on it. The tougher thing would be finding that second spot on the 26-man roster because the first one is clearly going to go to Antone.
Some of those players are a lot safer than others. Some of those players are quite debatable as to whether they warrant not designating for assignment. Among that group only Tony Santillan has options.
Sean Doolittle has pitched in 15 games over the last two months and been charged with earned runs in two of them. He’s also only allowed one inherited runner to score (out of six).
Since June 9th Amir Garrett has pitched in 28 games and has a 3.06 ERA in 17.2 innings. But for the month of August he’s barely pitched, too. He hasn’t pitched in over a week, and he’s thrown just 2.1 innings on the month.
Jeff Hoffman has been very successful since his return from the injured list and transition to the bullpen. In eight games as a reliever he’s allowed two runs in 13.1 innings and struck out 17 batters.
Justin Wilson, a trade deadline acquisition along with Luis Cessa from the Yankees, has allowed just two runs in nine appearances and 8.0 innings since joining the Reds, but he’s also walked five batters in that span – an issue he also had with the Yankees.
The bench only has four players on it, so it’s highly unlikely that a bench player goes out for another reliever. Picking one player to go out for Antone probably won’t be easy. And with the options in play it might be Tony Santillan since he’s the only guy with them, even though it seems like he might be a better option to keep around than some of the others. That leaves the team looking at whether or not to keep Michael Feliz over someone else. Unless there’s an injury we don’t know about, though, someone seems like they are heading for the waiver wire before the Milwaukee series begins and it’s possible that two players will be.