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.