The Cincinnati Reds have been without left-handed starting pitcher Nick Lodolo since late April. In his start on the 24th he felt something in his back, but pitched through it. After the start, though, he didn’t rebound like he expected to and was placed on the injured list with a lower right back/side strain.

The lefty will get back on the road to return tomorrow night. Lodolo will join the Arizona Complex League Reds to make his first rehab start and if he gets through it healthy he will then move up to Triple-A Louisville and join the Bats to continue his rehab from there. The Bats will be in Durham for that start, so if you happen to be in the North Carolina area it could be worth making that trip.

Prior to the injury, Nick Lodolo had made just three starts for Cincinnati. There were mixed results in there. Overall he was 1-2 with a 5.52 ERA in 14.2 innings where he allowed 18 hits, 3 home runs, walked 5 batters, and he picked up 19 strikeouts along the way. His Major League debut saw him allow 5 runs in Cincinnati against Cleveland in 4.0 innings where he walked 3 batters and gave up 2 home runs. The next two starts he threw 10.2 innings and allowed 4 runs, walked just 2 batters, gave up 1 home run, and he struck out 15.

The current rotation for the Reds includes Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, and Mike Minor. How that plays out if and when Lodolo is ready to return is a question with an answer for now. There’s plenty of time between now and when that decision needs to be made and a plethora of things could take place in between that could make the decision for them.

From 10,000 feet the decision seems to be obvious: Figure out something else to do with Mike Minor, who isn’t a part of the future like Greene, Ashcraft, or Lodolo, and isn’t an extension candidate or potential big trade chip like Castillo or Mahle are.

26 Responses

  1. LDS

    Got to figure he’ll be better than Minor in a very short time

  2. Kdavis

    Maybe since he only pitched 50 innings last year he could be used in long relief? If he could go 2-3 innings twice a week with an occasional start that could get him up to 75 or 80 innings by the end of the year.

    • MK

      He threw 121 in 2019 so he might get more than you expect.

  3. Redsvol

    Well it’s about time. I wish we would replace Minor but I think the reality is that he will replace one of either mahle or Castillo after their trade.

  4. Redsfan4life

    Good news. Like to see him get 80 innings or so this year. Starting next month.

  5. Bet on red

    Doug, I live within walking distance of the Bulls stadium, if you hear exactly which day he is pitching could you let us know?

    • Mark Moore

      Double down on that (though I have to drive to DBAP). I’d love to work it in if possible.

  6. Melvin

    I see the same view from 10,000 feet.

  7. JayTheRed

    6-man rotation to keep innings down for the rookies maybe?


      I don’t just like it, I love it (this idea)!

    • VaRedsFan

      You beat me to this post.
      I’d prefer to just remove Minor from the rotation, but a 6 man rotation also extends the Greene and Ashcraft season as they approach there limits.

      In a non-competitive season this makes sense.

      • Tar Heel Red

        No way Minor is coming out of the rotation. The Reds want to showcase him in the hopes of trading him at the deadline.

  8. Alex

    Like the optimism but we all know already, if Minor is healthy, he will pitch, no matter how bad he is. This is the Reds, and Minor is the “Resources.” I’d love to be surprised.

  9. RedsGettingBetter

    In one hand the Minor’s tonight outing is important to his future rol in the Reds pitching staff. I have a hunch if he performs bad again is gonna be moved to the BP or hit the IL for 2nd time… On the other hand, we should remembered that Lodolo didn’t earn a rotation spot, he just was a replacement because injuries arised to others starters so if he stays at AAA for some time until be called up to integrate the rotation again is not gonna be a surprise either

  10. Rednat

    i trust the reds can develop these young starters. that is about the only thing the organization has done right recently. I do think for us to be competitive in the next few years we will have to trade one of these young guys to get some position players. I think right now trading packaging Castillo and Greene would bring the best prospects now. what the last game of the the diamond back series and first 2 games of the cardinals series proved is that you can not win just on starting pitching alone. we are going to have to improve or starting 8 if we are going to compete

    • DHud

      Yeah I think you’re about 5 years ahead of the “trade Greene for prospects” plan

      He’s exactly the kind of young, CHEAP, top of the rotation starter the Reds need when and if they enter another competitive window. Wait until he’s gonna get Gerrit Cole money and the reds still suck, then trade him

  11. JohnnyTV

    You’re really proposing that the Reds trade Hunter Greene?
    For “prospects”?

  12. SteveO

    Some transactions should be coming soon. First, I think Moose activated with Moran to Louisville. Next, India activated with Lopez to Louisville. Then, Schrock activated with Fraley to the 60 day IL to buy some time, unless they have already decided the fate of Aquino or Moran. When Solano needs to be activated, Aquino or Moran DFAd.
    I also think going to a 6 man rotation when Lodolo is ready makes sense. He’ll probably be ready in late June/early July and the trade deadline will only be a month away in early August.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Why in the world would you send down Lopez instead of Friedel. He’s just not that good. Lopez a much better hitter and is a switchie.

      • BK

        Both players have similar Major League experience. I would argue, they are similar (well below average) hitters, but Friedl has an edge defensively both based on my eyeball and with underlying metrics. Their career hitting numbers with the caveat that Lopez is little over his career number this year:

        – Lopez, 92 PAs, 59 OPS+
        – Friedl, 129 PAs, 59 OPS+

      • DHud

        Friedl plays a more valuable position CF than Lopez 2B

  13. Old Big Ed

    The Reds are now clearly at the “let the kids play” stage, which means it’s time to DFA Moose, trade Pham, etc., and promote a lot of minor leaguers to the next appropriate level. Moose is now just wasting ABs that could go to somebody who will be useful in the future. Pham can still play, and somebody will take on his salary. Let Schrock or Drury or Fairchild or Barrero or even Cedrola play outfield.

    Elly De La Cruz needs to learn the strike zone better, but can he really learn that at Dayton? I think he needs to play at a level — AA for now — where the competition forces him to learn the strike zone. Once he learns the strike zone, he will be Major League ready, because his hands are as quick as any hitter in the world.

    • BK

      I completely agree with your sentiment. I expect Moose will be cut once we have healthy options–time is simply running out to expect him to bounce back. WRT De La Cruz, I’m comfortable letting his stay at High-A for the time being. He’s only 20 and this is really his first full season of stateside professional baseball. He needs to learn the strike zone, but I’m betting he’s also expending significant energy acclimating to the rigors of playing nearly every day and a new culture. With the others, as soon as they are healthy and have their timing down after missing so much time, they should be promoted and playing often.

      • David

        I watched a little video of De La Cruz hitting, and he looks like a taller, left handed version of Eric Davis. He’s thin, but has tremendous bat speed, which is where his power comes from. Really, really incredibly talented young man.
        I agree “Moose” should be DFA’d, because why are the Reds keeping him? But they still owe him a lot of money, and the Castellinis won’t allow him to be DFA’d. He’ll play and cost them victories (maybe) and certainly take up space on the 25 man roster. My sense is…..he’s not going anywhere. It was one thing for them to DFA Akiyama (which surprised me), they just owed him $8 mill, I think. They owe Moustakas a lot more.
        Ask me again…. why is younger Dick Williams no longer working for the Reds? And why would the Reds want to give Luis Castillo a big, multi-year contract? They are not a big-bucks franchise and have to stop doing things like that.

    • Redsvol

      I agree Ed but I think you’re about 3 to 4 weeks early. I think they will try to get closer to the all star game – giving moose, minor, Pham and Aquino and maybe a reliever or two more time to show some more value to trade interested teams. In all likelihood moose is cit because no one is taking that salary off our hands.

      But I agree it’s time to let dead weight go and give playing time to those who might be able to show they belong in the mlb in 2023.

  14. VaRedsFan

    Hunter Greene just named NL Player of the Week!