With pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Goodyear, Arizona today we were able to get medical updates on some players who are attempting to come back from injuries.

Last week we found out that reliever Tejay Antone suffered a setback as he strained his flexor in his right arm as he was coming back from Tommy John surgery. Antone noted that he had just gotten a PRP injection in an attempt to help speed up the recovery process. In a public statement that he made on instagram it was unclear when exactly he would return. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that David Bell told the media that Antone will miss at least the first month of the season. That may be some good news given that Antone mentioned that he’d “see you in the second half for the playoff push”, giving some the impression that he could miss the entirety of the first half of the season.

In other good news on the injury front, Lucas Sims and Nick Senzel are both ready to go as spring training opens up. Last season saw Sims pitch in just a handful of games before going on the injured list with back spasms. A month later he would undergo surgery for a herniated disc and missed the final four-and-a-half months of the season. Senzel had surgery on his toe last year and was still in a boot in December at Redsfest. But the outfielder appears to be healed up and healthy and arrived early to Goodyear and will be ready to fully participate.

For Senzel, he’ll be facing plenty of competition for a starting job in the outfield. With Senzel’s offensive struggles, TJ Friedl hitting last season in about half of a season’s worth of playing time, and the addition of Will Benson last week in trade, it may take a good spring for Senzel to grab the every day job in center.

On the other side of the injury news, though, is that reliever Tony Santillan isn’t likely to be ready for the start of the season. Mark Sheldon of Reds.com noted that Santillan may be delayed a couple of weeks to get his arm ready. The right-hander missed more than half of the year in 2022 after suffering a back injury. He didn’t pitch after mid-June last season. From the sounds of it the injury lasted long enough that it kept him from being ready to get in all of a normal offseason training to ramp up for spring training.

39 Responses

  1. Redsfan11

    The optimist in me hopes both remain healthy and finally meet some of their expectations.

    The realist in me sees both on IL by the all star break

    • Harry Stoner

      Trying to force Senzel back into a crowded outfield scenario is bound to fail.

      I’d rather see him rotating in the IF where he belongs and with less risk of running into a wall, another OFer or diving after some uncatchable or unnecessary ball.

      Of course that would never dawn on Bell if he’s got a Newman or a Martin or this year’s model Reynolds.

      Senzel has had a string of bad luck but he’s been cursed with the timing in which he wound up in this organization.

      • greenmtred

        Infielders get injured. Everybody gets injured. The organization appears to have decided years ago that Senzel should be a center fielder, and his speed plays there and is largely superfluous at 2nd or 3rd. One thing that might occur to Bell–probably has–is that the Reds have a glut of infielders. Outfielders, too, but but no strong centerfielders.

  2. Melvin

    “That may be some good news given that Antone mentioned that he’d “see you in the second half for the playoff push”, giving some the impression that he could miss the entirety of the first half of the season.”

    Looking forward to that “playoff push”. 🙂

  3. J

    Maybe Antone stopped following the team the day he got hurt. If that’s the case, he’s going to be in for some big surprises when he returns.

  4. LDS

    Cautiously optimistic, but the pitching ranks are even thinner with neither TJ nor Santillan ready to go. The FO should really have signed some ML talent. How much did Wacha cost San Diego?

    • Redsvol

      I agree. We really needed a league average starting pitcher in our rotation. Wacha would have fit the mold.

      Santillan sure must have had major back surgery. He’s been out a long time. I remember him being relatively healthy before this back issue. Bad backs and pitching don’t usually foretell of a productive major league career.

      There are still some major league pitchers looking for minor league deals. Its time to sign a couple.

    • Harry Stoner

      The Santillan mystery continues.

    • 2020ball

      There had to be room in the budget for a BP arm, though their recent trend has been to sign guys that aren’t that good when they do that. Other than Farmer, there’s been a lot of misses.

  5. Doug Gray

    Healthy FOR spring training.

    Words are hard.

  6. AMDG

    Senzel has over 1000 plate appearances under his belt, and he turns 28 this season.

    So, we can probably assume he is who he is at this point, which is a 0.240 hitter with a 65 OPS+ and a negative WAR.

    Over the past 4 seasons, even his AAA statistics only have him producing a 238 / 313 / 350 slash line.

    With Myers and Fraley being competent hitters, and a better upside prospect in Benson available, plus guys like Fairchild & Friedl who have actually produced somewhat, it would seem Senzel has run out of chances?

    I wonder if his trade value could even land them a mid-tier minor league reliever, or if they just need to cut him loose?

    • David

      I think what you say is basically correct. But..Nick Senzel was a 1st round draft choice, and the Reds’ management is loathe to admit that it was a failure.

      One more time, with feeling. Maybe this is Nick’s breakout year! Yeah, no.

      Nick has had a lot of “bad luck”. But players sometimes make their own luck, good or bad. Maybe he just is (literally!) injury prone? A lot pitchers are drafted with the highest hopes, or seem to have great talent, but they never seem to be able to stay out there and pitch to their potential. Ditto position players.

      • AMDG

        2020: our #2 overall pick rookie had a solid season in 2019. He will break out in 2020.
        And then he promptly hits 0.186 in 2020

        2021: Let’s just dismiss his failure to the “covid year”. He will break out in 2021.
        And he promptly hits 0.250 with no power. And he gets hurt.

        2022: Well, he’s still a great prospect. He was just hampered by injuries. He will break out in 2022.
        And he promptly hits 0.231 with a sub-0.300 OBP. And he gets hurt.

        2023: Let’s just dismiss his failures to injuries again. He will break out in 2023.

        By my count, this is the 4th year Reds fans are waiting for Senzel to break out, and turn into something more than a below replacement level player. Maybe he will. But at some point he’s got to run out of chances?

      • greenmtred

        Senzel was highly regarded and has not fulfilled that promise. But he also has been injured a great deal. Do the 2023 Reds really lose much by giving him another shot? I don’t think so, given that they aren’t contending this year and given that they are devoid of stand-out centerfielders.

    • RedBB

      ..and a bad centerfielder. It’s like the arrogance of the Reds front office can’t admit they were wrong drafting him. It happens…move on.

      • David

        Nick was a first-round draft choice in the 2016 amateur baseball draft.
        He was drafted as a 3rd basemen. When he arrived at the ML level (after doing well in the minors), Eugenio Suarez was the resident 3rd baseman. Nick, being able to run pretty well, was tried in CF, as the Reds were lacking in a good CF then, and it looked like Nick could hit.

        Maybe it was all a mistake to play Nick so out of position, or maybe he just wasn’t that good. I am sure he’s actually a good guy, and has worked hard to overcome all his lousy luck with regards to injuries.
        But professional baseball players are not evaluated on just being good guys, or being hard working, or putting out high effort. They have to show some measurable metric as a player.
        And in that way, Nick has been a big disappointment. It happens.

      • AMDG

        From what I recall, when Senzel was drafted, he was supposed to be a solid, yet unspectacular, prospect with a quick track to the majors.

        And thru the 2018 season, that certainly seemed to be the case. He owned a 0.314 BA and a 19% K rate, and was playing well in L’ville just 1.5 years after being drafted.

        Over his first 70~80 games with the Reds, he looked the part. He was hitting 0.280. But then the wheels fell off.

        He finished 2019 hitting 0.160 over his final 30 or 40 games. And followed that up by hitting 0.186 in 2019, and just never returned to being the prospect he was.

        I’m not sure what happened in August of 2019, but he just has not been very good since then. And the projections don’t seem to point to that changing 🙁

  7. Old-school

    The Santillan news appears positive as Sheldon reported his back has recovered and the extra few weeks are simply to get his arm ramped up so perhaps still all good. Hope Senzel stays healthy. This is a big year for him and sink or swim I hope hes 100% to perform.

  8. Hotto4Votto

    Should probably start Senzel in Louisville until he shows he can have any semblance of an offensive game. Friedl, Benson, Myers, Fairchild, and Fraley are more than enough to cover the OF.

  9. Bill J

    Seen Senzel said he’s MOSTLY ready, wonder what that means. How is it Antone says “see you in the second half” but Bell says he’ll only miss April?

    • Harry Stoner

      Q: “How is it Antone says “see you in the second half” but Bell says he’ll only miss April?”

      A: “David Bell”

      • greenmtred

        What Bell said, as reported by Doug, was that Antone would miss at least a month. As Doug says, words are hard. I read “at least a month” as different from “only missing April.” It’s all in the “at least.”

      • redsfan4040

        And does that mean at least a month before he’s in Cincinnati? Or at least a month before he’s ready to start throwing and go on a rehab assignment?

      • 2020ball

        Groan…. Even if Bell is wrong, this is the tiniest of potatoes. Antone is out to start the year is all a manager should have to say.

  10. Christopher Hale

    Since Nick Senzel was called up for his first game the Reds have had 617 games. He has appeared in 273 of them. He has been available for 44% of games as a Cincinnati Red. Time to cut their losses and move on. This seems to be a pattern. Unless Cincinnati is ok with expecting him to be available for 44% of the games this year.

  11. MBS

    This bullpen is in real trouble. I can’t believe they didn’t bring in an arm or 2 for the back of the pen. You have Diaz, SanMartin, Sims, Farmer, and then 2 of Weaver, Cessa, and Overton, plus maybe Cruz and Young? It sounded a lot better when we were throwing around names like Antone, and Santillan, but where are you going to go?

    • Tom Mitsoff

      To count on Antone at all would be a mistake, I’m afraid. Two TJ surgeries and now follow-up complications don’t bode well. This is very typical of two-time TJ pitchers. The vast majority don’t make it back.

      • MBS

        Agreed, but this is the plan that the Reds seemed to have. There are still a few good bullpen pieces out there that could help the Reds. Maybe they’ll surprise us, probably not, but one can dream.

  12. LDS

    Bell said yesterday that Senzel isn’t ready yet.

    “We’re not going to force it day one,” Bell said. “As far as being ready for Opening Day, as long as there are no setbacks, he’ll be good. He’ll be ready.”

    Not as rosy as previously reported.

    • Doug Gray

      No one “forces it” on the first day of spring training. That’s why it’s spring training.

    • LDS

      That’s true, but this quote is pure Bell-speak. Similar comments in the past were precursors to the IL.

    • 2020ball

      More small potatoes. Its “manager-speak” as far as I can tell, everyone does it. Man it must be the spring, Reds fans are grasping for anything to complain about.

  13. Old-school

    And CES will be delayed with a back issue… off and running

  14. redfanorbust

    Really hurts alot about Antoine. Would have been huge for our bullpen if he was ready to go and back to his dominating self. Glad to hear the news about Sims and Senzel. As far as Senzel goes, will he or should he make the team, that debate has been going on for a long time. I think one poster mentioned he is likely still in the mix because the Reds lack a true center fielder and they probably want to give him one more shot at staying healthy. If he is healthy and plays/hits decent in spring training then he probably sticks with the team. I see opening day OF being Senzel, Fraley and Benson. Not Meyers as he will probably man first base as it does not look like Votto will be ready to go. That’s just my best guess right now. By the end of spring training a bunch of things can change.

  15. old-school

    Article by Goldsmith on Senzel and sounds like hes pretty much ready but will go slow to start the first week or so. He is quoted as being very supportive of new Reds hitting coach and “they speak the same vocabulary” and worst part of the foot was he couldn’t work on the new hitting approach because he was limited and very excited to keep working on hitting the ball hard. New hitting coach also worked extensively with Barrero in the off-season so thats a storyline to follow. Does a new hitting coach help Senzel and Barrero in 2023 when they didn’t hit under the old hitting coach? Senzel hit pretty well when he came up in 2019 and blew up the minor leagues and college and cape Cod league so the pedigree is there. If IM betting a long shot at the horse track at 15-1 whose pedigree is there but results arent, Im putting $5 across the board on Senzel.

  16. 2020ball

    My hope for Senzel is he can hit league average someday and play multiple spots. Really hoping to see him on the infield more if they roster him, and hoping he can be a RHH side of a platoon in the OF. He doesnt need to be a star to be a useful player.