The Cincinnati Reds have lost catcher Tyler Stephenson for the next 4-6 weeks after he broke his thumb during Thursday afternoon’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, first reported by Mark Sheldon of

In the 4th inning of the game a foul ball off of the bat of Jordan Luplow caught Stephenson in his non-catcher hand and he was in obvious pain. The training staff came out to check on him, but the conversation wasn’t very long before he exited the game and headed back to the clubhouse with the medical staff.

It’s a tough break for Tyler Stephenson and for the Cincinnati Reds. Stephenson was having a strong season at the plate, hitting .309/.366/.475 entering the day. But it’s not just what he’s done at the plate that’s been beneficial for the Reds, it’s what he’s been able to do behind the plate, too. He’s thrown out 10 attempted base stealers this season – good for a 32% caught stealing rate.

Aramis Garcia is the only other catcher currently on the active roster. That will change tomorrow as the team heads to St. Louis to begin a weekend series with the Cardinals. The question will be who comes up from the minor leagues to join him as the other catcher on the roster. Mark Kolozsvary is on the 40-man roster and in Triple-A. But on a recent road trip the team opted to add Sandy Leon to the taxi squad instead of Kolozsvary even though Leon is not on the 40-man roster.

Kolozsvary has only played in 12 games with Louisville this season and he’s hitting .231/.333/.436 with two doubles, two home runs, four walks, and 13 strikeouts for the Bats. Leon, the 33-year-old with 1437 big league games under his belt, has played in 20 games with Louisville this season and he’s hitting .193/.309/.281 with 10 walks and 10 strikeouts. Leon is currently in a 3-30 slump dating back to May 1st. A third option out there could be Chris Okey. The 27-year-old is not on the 40-man roster and he has no big league experience. But he’s played in 24 games in Triple-A this season and is hitting .265/.324/.441 this season with three doubles, three triples, a home run, six walks, and 24 strikeouts.

No matter which catcher the team ultimately decides to go with the Reds are going to be taking a downgrade from Tyler Stephenson in a big way. Aramis Garcia will likely become the guy who catches most games with the call up likely getting two starts a week.

44 Responses

    • Jim t

      That darn Bell. I knew he should have rested him today instead of yesterday

      • greenmtred

        LDS would have done just that. Any good manager would know when his catcher was going to get a fracture.

  1. Joe P.

    As if losing games wasn’t bad enough. Now they lose maybe their best young player. Hope Tyler heals up quickly and we see him back more closely to 4 weeks out instead of 6.

  2. Jim Walker

    Or as Mr Howsam used to say back in the 1970s, sometimes you need to take and make a trade.

    The Reds have a number of guys who have played like they would be valuable platoon or bench players in the right situations with teams hoping to contend for a playoff spot. Farmer, Drury, Reynolds, Almora (if he isn’t hurt too). That’s not to mention Schrock and Solano coming off rehab.

    With India not yet back and Stephenson down till the All Star break and likely beyond, what’s to wait for? Drop all pretense and let the sale begin.

    • Oldtimer

      Sometimes that worked. Sometimes not.

      He traded promising young SP Milt Wilcox (who had a decent MLB career) for OF Ted Uhlaender in 1971.

      He traded very promising LH SP Ross Grimsley (who had three good years with Reds) for OF Merv Rettenmund in 1973. Grimsley had a good MLB career after the Reds. Rettenmund was past his better days when he got to the Reds.

      HOWEVER he traded Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert for George Foster in 1971. HUGE win for the Reds in that trade.

      He also traded Gene Locklear for Fred Norman in 1973. Norman was an important cog in the BRM SP rotation through the 1970s.

      • Little Earl

        He also traded away Joaquin Andujar for Luis Sanchez and Carlos Alfonso.

      • Jim Walker

        Then there was the time Howsam got Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Jack Billingham, Dennis Menke and Ed Armbrister for Lee May (a personal favorite of mine), Tommy Helms and Jimmy Stewart 😉 😉

        When he perceived a need he wasn’t shy about taking and making a trade to try and fill it.

      • Oldtimer

        The Andujar trade in 1975 made little or no sense to me.

        Howsam won more trades than he lost. But he traded Perez in 1976. Grimsley in 1973. McRae in 1972. He lost those three trades.

      • Votto4life

        Sparky didn’t like Grimsley’s long hair. Which is a little weird because he treated Bernie Carbo like a son (actually better than his real son) even though he was pretty wild.

        I loved Sparky though.

      • Little Earl

        Howsam did a great job building the big red machine. His poor trades of pitchers is what stopped them from being a dynasty is the late 70s.

      • Jim Walker

        @V4L> Grimsley was also not a favorite of the front office. He and someone else whose name I don’t recall were sent down to AAA (Indianapolis at the time) with some vague promise of a quick return (per their version of events).

        They became agitated when they weren’t called up and drove to Cincinnati for a face to face with Howsam and Sparky.

  3. Melvin

    It would be nice if Farmer got back to catching again and Barrero at SS but that’s not going to happen.

    • Jim Walker

      Kyle Farmer has a grand total of 19 game appearances as an MLB catcher with none since 2019.

      • Melvin

        Let’s get him in catching shape, make it 20 and go from there. I know it’s not going to happen. Just a thought. It would solve a lot of problems though.

      • Doc

        And 300 games catching in the minor leagues.

        Barrero needs to hit a lot better at Louisville before coming up.

  4. B-town Fan

    I didn’t see it, but was his none glove hand behind his back on the pitch? If it was not, then the injury is Stephensons fault. That is Catching 101, non catching hand behind your back on every pitch, to prevent fouls off the hand. Johnny Bench invented the technique over 50 years ago.

    • JB

      They don’t do that anymore. They either keep it behind the glove or down by side out of the way. They found that behind their back tightens up their front shoulder and there isn’t much padding there to protect it. Billy Ripken did a segment on MLB network about it.

    • Jim Walker

      Also, there was a runner on 1st; so, TS was in a possible throwing situation, it looked like his hand was flat and flush against his thigh and ball just found t.

  5. Votto4life

    It’s really time to clean house I mean Krall, farmer the coaching staff (including DJ). Name an interim GM and field manager. Do a through search and hire the best available regardless of costs.

    Trade Castillo and Mahle for the best offensive prospects you can get. Make sure this winter to acquire a major league catcher and work Tyler out at first base over the winter. Release Moose, Minor, Moran etc.

    Start next season with Greene, Ashcraft, Lodolo, Stephenson and India as your core. Build from there.

    • Bill J

      V4L, I know you mean well but, remember the last time the did a through search and got the best. They wanted someone not in in the organization. LOL

    • Jim Walker

      IMO trade Castillo, and extend Mahle if will sign. if not trade him too. Some of the young guys are probably going to wash out to at least relievers and somebody will be hurt.

      • LDS

        Why not the other way? Still think Castillo is a better bet than Mahle. Though hard to say who has more trade value?

      • Jim Walker

        LDS> because Mahle is showing signs of becoming a finisher in the sense he closes out his messes and does markedly better at avoiding soft runs and allowing runs immediately after the Reds score.

      • LDS

        Fair enough and he’s younger. I suspect a lot will wash out or never bounce back from their current injuries, e.g., TJ. It’s all a pipe dream anyway. I more suspect a fire sale with a lousy return.

  6. Hanawi

    Of those options, I’d probably see what Okey has and give him a shot. Could DFA Moran to make a space as far as I’m concerned.

    • JB

      Exactly. Not sure what the love affair the organization has for Moran. He is terrible.

  7. Old-school

    Didn’t see the game.

    Sorry for Tyler. At the end of the day, we are all fans and Tyler And India are my 2 favorite players so disappointed for him and not to be able to watch him hit. Speedy recovery TS. That said, its sorting time.Chris Okey hit for the cycle the other day. His hitting stats are far and away the best he’s ever had . Hes 27. Why not? Former high round pick. See what he has.

    • MBS

      Might as well give him his shot. I think he was known as a defensive catcher, if that’s the case I say bring him up.

  8. docproc

    He was likely going to be our All-Star selection, too. Sorry if he loses that honor.

  9. Bet on red

    Okey is the best avalible so I would give him the try.

  10. LDS

    The Reds have just about clinched last place. Stephenson is yet another nail in the coffin. I’d say it’s time to start making some moves. Maybe Okey but certainly not Garcia, Kolozsvary, or Leon.

  11. Redsvol

    I see the problems more as lack of consistent office and a terrible string of bullpen outings. I hate to lose Tyler but a broken thumb is not a 4-6 week injury – especially for a catcher. That’s timeline is an obvious lie. Put him on the 60 day DL and recall Leon. The team need an experienced catcher when Garcia is your backup. Let Tyler come back when he is fully healed – which isn’t 4-6 weeks. That could mess a player up long term if that doesn’t heal correctly.

  12. CFD3000

    This is terrible news, and I hope Stephenson can be back in less than 6 weeks. And I would at least consider Okey for a look behind the dish. But if they do go that route I hope he gets the bulk of starts with Garcia spotting him a couple days a week. I doubt it does the Reds or Chris Okey much good for him to be the backup for 6 weeks. Either play him or leave him at AAA and let Leon or Kolo back up Garcia.

    As for “it’s over and last place is a lock” I disagree. India, Schrock and Lodolo will all upgrade the roster soon. Votto and Senzel both are starting to hit really well (assuming Senzel can stay healthy of course). And a rotation of Castillo, Mahle, Greene, Lodolo and Ashcraft gives you a chance to win every day. I’d have no problem looking to upgrade for the future by trading Mahle (or Castillo but I’d rather extend him), and trading / releasing Moustakas, Moran, and Pham. But I still think this team finishes third in the division. I promise you the players think that, and haven’t given up on sneaking into a playoff spot. This is a big blow, but it’s not a death knell.

  13. Rick Pearson

    Is there any decent Catcher out there on the open market ?

  14. GreatRedLegsFan

    Not good, just too many injuries in a short time, his carreer could be derailed. Time to change plans, his bat is critical for the future, start working in his first base/left field abilities once he’s back.

  15. Jeff Morris

    Went to Gatlinburg. Visited the Bears at Over Gatlinburg. One bear was injured and was inside. Immediately thought this bear has been hanging around the Reds and the injury bug rubbed off on it