The Cincinnati Reds have called up reliever Joel Kuhnel from Triple-A Louisville, placing him on the 40-man roster and they designated Robert Dugger for assignment to make room for him. That was a quick turn around for Dugger, who pitched in game two against the Pittsburgh Pirates last night and was just picked up on waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this week.
Dugger was initially supposed to start the game for Cincinnati, but during game one the Reds got tricky and opted to go with an opener instead. Dauri Moreta and Phillip Diehl both pitched in the first inning for Cincinnati before they turned the ball over to Dugger.He would pitch the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings of the game, giving up five hits, walking one, be charged with three earned runs, and he struck out five batters. The Reds would eventually lose the game, 8-5.
Joel Kuhnel is returning to the Reds roster for the first time since 2020. The big right-handed reliever missed much of the 2021 season as he recovered from a shoulder injury. He didn’t pitch in a game until September 7th when he began a rehab assignment with the complex level Arizona League Reds. A few weeks later he pitched in the final week of the season in Triple-A Louisville, throwing 4.0 shutout innings with three strikeouts and a walk.
This season Kuhnel has pitched with the Bats for the full season. In his month of time on the mound he’s allowed three runs in 10.1 innings (2.61 ERA) while giving up nine hits, walking one, and striking out seven. The sample size is small, but he’s also posted a 58% ground ball rate in Louisville this season. You can see his career stats here.
In his last outing against Indianapolis, the same one that saw Luis Castillo pitch his final rehab game in, Kuhnel was throwing his fastball in the 94-95 MPH range. His slider was working in the upper 80’s.