Yesterday we learned that Justin Dunn experienced discomfort in his shoulder while throwing just before arriving in spring training and then again in his first bullpen session after arriving. Today we heard from Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell and he noted that Dunn may miss all of spring training (first reported by Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer) and that he’s having his shoulder checked out by the team doctors.

For Justin Dunn and his shoulder – it’s been a long road and one that has had many speed bumps along the way. When he was with the Seattle Mariners he missed an entire year on the injured list with a shoulder injury despite not having needed surgery. He was traded to Cincinnati while still dealing with the injury and after getting healthy enough to return to the mound he noted that things still weren’t quite right. In mid-September of last season he was placed on the injured list with shoulder tightness. He made one rehab start with Triple-A Louisville, throwing 3.0 innings on September 27th before the end of the season.

Dunn was looking to compete for a spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation this spring. It would appear that is going to be off of the table given the news today. At this point when he can return to the mound is unclear, but it’s almost assuredly not going to be by the start of the season. Hopefully the news from the doctor(s) is good for Dunn, but after 18 months of almost continuous problems with his shoulder it would seem that there’s something going on there.

Reds MiLB Spring Roster

If you are going to be out in Goodyear this spring to take in some spring training baseball, one of the things you should make sure to do is check out some stuff on the minor league side of the complex, especially if the big league club is going to be playing night games because then you won’t be missing out. The Reds currently have 160 players invited to minor league camp. You can check out the entire list of players who will be there at

46 Responses

  1. LDS

    I’m expecting a 60-day IL announcement as spring moves forward.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    I suppose anything you get from Dunn moving forward will be a bonus. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to trade for pitchers with shoulder issues? Hopefully Williamson and Connor Phillips pan out to recoup some of the value given up in that trade….Fraley mashing this year would also help.

    • Luke J

      I think you made the counter to your own point. The value in that trade was always Williamson, Phillips, and Fraley. Dunn was always just icing on the cake if he could get healthy. But that trade was designed to have value whether he ever pitched again or not. He was a throw in. The main point of the trade was to jettison big contract money while trying to get value in return. They did that. The dumped Suarez’s contract, got rid of Winker who was at peak value but would inevitably prove to be a poor defensive platoon hitter at best. And in return they got some solid value, even without Dunn. So they took a chance on him knowing there was basically no risk given how good the rest of the trade was for them. It was like playing with house money.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Just because you received prospects in return doesn’t equate with value. The value derived comes from them becoming major league players, which remains to be seen. I disagree that Dunn was considered a throw-in. Go back and read the news articles–there was every expectation by the Reds that he would be a back of the rotation piece.

      • DHud

        Platoon hitter at best? Winker was an all-star when traded and his career numbers are much more aligned with what he did in 2021 than 2022

  3. CI3J

    I wonder why he hasn’t gotten surgery? Clearly this is some kind of lingering issue that is not getting better with rehab.

    It looks like his choices are get surgery or give up on his MLB dream.

    • MBS

      Dunn is wasting some of his best years, if a surgery could fix his issues. Losing a guy you need to round out the rotation does hurt, especially with such a thin group of starters to pull from.

      If we jump to a major conclusion that Williamson is ready, and we got 4 spots locked in, so who is the #5? I think I’m going back to Cessa. He looked solid as a starter, especially after he was stretched out a bit. I’d rather have Overton in my back pocket in AAA if we need another starter due to injury.

      AAA Overton, Stoudt, Lively, Anderson, and ? in AAA still doesn’t inspire much confidence. Maybe Phillips, and Abbott take a step forward in 23, and give us a couple more options as the year goes on.

      • DaveCT

        Even before Dunn’s setback, I was in the school where had a lot to prove regarding his health before the team could count on him. Shoulder injuries are just bad news, trouble enough for hitters, but they’re just brutal on pitchers.

      • MBS

        I agree on the “count on him” aspect, but his experience as a MLB starter had him well above the others competing for the 4 and 5 spots in the rotation.

  4. old-school

    With Dunn out and Cessa pitching for Mexico, Williamson and Overton should get plenty of looks/opportunities. I would love to see a starting rotation of Greene/Lodolo/Ashcraft/Williamson and Overton with Cessa/Weaver as the flex BP guys when an extra starter is needed or the back tightness flares up.

    FWIW, some good twitter vids from Bobby Nightengale and Charlie goldsmith. India looks sharp in the cage with some bombs and Lodolo and Myers had a nice battle in live BP with Lodolo pulling the string on him. Casali seems like a second coach out there and a huge asset for these young pitchers. Lots of nice things coming out of Cleveland from Francona and Antonelli on Will Benson. With Senzel behind and Votto uncertain, Benson and Will Myers could be under the radar huge additions for this 2023 team for those understandably saying this team is worse than last year.

    With Stephenson, India, and Myers, Reds are going to have some thumpers against left handed pitching. Myers is going to have a nice year in the friendly confines.

    • DaveCT

      Both Giants and Mariners broadcasters cited their organizations as believing Casali had very good managerial ability

      • old-school


        How ‘bout Casali as next Reds manager?

      • DaveCT

        We shall never speak of this again …

      • LDS

        @OS, I’d be willing to see what Casali can do. The bar isn’t that high following Bell. He said somewhere that he wants a FO job someday. Manager would be a nice stepping stone.

      • Melvin

        Whoever is the next manager has to have a backbone, be his own man, and be willing to stand up to these crazy owners….it they’re still here….hopefully not.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        Stand up to the owners how? What do you believe a manager can do to do something about how the owners operate?

      • 2020ball

        The manager decides everything and is the main part of all decisions, havent you been reading the fact based comments here?

      • Melvin

        I just mean in my view David Bell is an extension of ownership and therefor part of it. They know that and that’s why he’s still here because they know he will do whatever they tell him to do which doesn’t necessarily mean doing it the right way. If a person doesn’t trust Big Bob & Son, which I sure don’t, I don’t see how David Bell can be trusted either. The Reds need a clean slate top to bottom. I think it’s very doubtful that the kind of manager I’m talking about will be hired by Big Bob & Son anyway. Those two will have to go first.

      • greenmtred

        Old-school: I think the only manager LDS could tolerate would be LDS. I’ve urged him repeatedly to apply forcefully for the job, but he always declines. Perhaps he took an objective look at the roster and concluded that discretion is the better part of valor?

      • LDS

        No @Greenmtred, anyone with actual management experience would suffice. Bell has a history of losing his entire career. Clearly, you’re comfortable with mediocrity and probably believe that Krall & Co have some grand plan to make the Reds competitive next year or the next. The Reds organization is dysfunctional and the fanbase are either disgruntled or suffering Stockholm Syndrome. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. I know which side I’m on.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        Bell has managed 4 seasons in MLB and has a winning record in half of them. No one was going to have a winning record last year no matter who the manager was.

        Some of you need to find a better target of your frustrations. Bell may not be Connie Mack but some of you act like he’s not qualified to manage the under-15 team in the Connie Mack league.

      • greenmtred

        Comfortable with mediocrity, LDS? Ownership has baked mediocrity into this particular cake by not spending enough to acquire a strong roster. Do I really have to trot out the losing records of Sparky, Sweet Lou and Stengel when they had weak rosters? Fans almost always think that they could do a better job than whoever is managing their favorite team. I’ve been participating in RLN through quite a few managers, and they all got attacked and derided. Of course none of them ever do things the way we think we would do them. That’s because they know more about the game and their players than we do and because they are subject to pressures that we are not.

      • Melvin

        @ greenmtred

        “Do I really have to trot out the losing records of Sparky, Sweet Lou and Stengel when they had weak rosters?”

        In my view an argument can be made that if any of those managers you mentioned got off to a 3-22 start they would have not kept their jobs under any ownership who cared anything at all about winning. That’s just the way it’s done if for no other reason than just to shake things up. It’s an example of how David Bell is an extension of and therefore part of Big Bob & Son ownership (which NO ONE likes). It’s true every manager suffers criticism. That’s just part of the job and they get paid well for it whether they win or not so I don’t feel too sorry for them. lol They knew what they were getting into when they signed the contract. The only way for ANY manager to overcome criticism is simply to win, fair or not. Personally, I like you, and I’m sure every other Reds fan, is extremely tired of losing. I would like to see another manager take over for a fresh start with all of the young talent that will be coming up relatively soon. If a new manager doesn’t come and David Bell somehow proves me wrong I’ll be extremely happy. I don’t think that’s likely at all though. Like I said, I just want to win. 🙂

        @Frankie Tomatoes

        “Bell has managed 4 seasons in MLB and has a winning record in half of them.”

        I guess that’s barely true. Some would argue that he should have won more with those teams. He sure hasn’t won anything anywhere that I know of besides those two seasons. Bottom line is you and I and every other Reds fan just want to win. We of course don’t have a say in anything that goes on. Still though the question we have to ask ourselves when it comes to David Bell is he the manager we trust to handle and win with the “next level of talent” after all these years of losing? I’m sure we all just want to have the best chance of winning. Ownership, all of it, of course plays a big part in that.

  5. David

    Well, unsurprisingly, it looks like Dunn is likely finished for the season, and maybe his career.
    Chronic shoulder injury is not getting better.
    60 day DL clears a 40 man spot.
    And the beat goes on

  6. Klugo

    Good thing we have another 120 pitchers vying for a rotation spot in Goodyear.

  7. Mark Moore

    Well … stuff happens … I guess.

    Disappointing to say the least. I really hope he can heal somehow, some way. I know the frustration for us as fans. I can’t imagine his frustration as a pro player.

  8. Harry Stoner

    While I feel bad for Dunn, I can’t really say I’m either surprised or disappointed.

    Back when the trade happened, Bell in his typically goofball manner of speaking said something to the effect of “Yeah, we knew he had a bad shoulder when we traded for him.”

    Could have been Bell typically low balling problems or maybe they Dunn was a high risk improbability from the start and was really the throw-in in the trade.

    Props are due Krall for muscling Phillips out of Seattle in the deal….which it sounds they weren’t so thrilled about giving up.

    Maybe Bull knew Dunn was damaged goods and used that to leverage for a better return.

    • Jim Walker

      Maybe Phillips was a conditional PTNL based on what Dunn was (not) doing up to the date the PTNL was to be named?

      • 2020ball

        Hmm, i think thats doubtful. That would be very weird to see that as a trade condition, im not sure how you’d be able to write that into a deal. Plus he recovered on schedule after the deal.

  9. AMDG

    Justin Dunn is going to start as many games for the Reds in 2023 as Doug Gray.

    Justin Dunn, prove me wrong!

    • DaveCT

      How cool would it be for Doug to throw out a first pitch?

  10. Optimist

    Well this does lower the ceiling to his standard 50 ip season. Any reports that he has resisted surgery, or is it a continuing borderline call for rehab? Hopefully those involved consider the talent, the timing and perhaps a future in the pen if surgery can avoid retirement.

  11. LDS

    So Bell now admits that Senzel won’t be ready for opening day. Votto next?

    • Harry Stoner

      That either one would have been ready for OD was always in doubt.

      Typical Bell double talk might have suggested otherwise but a clear eyed look at the both their situations shouldn’t have led anyone to really think they would be.

      That doesn’t undermine your underlying point it’s a fool’s errand to put any stock in anything Bell says viz the health of a player.

      Will JV be ready for OD? Of course not.

      No shade on JV about it at all. Did anyone really think he would be?

      • LDS

        No, I don’t think we did. Wishful thinking I guess. After all, how can the Reds keep being bad? Starting to feel sympathy for Cubs fans back in the day.

      • 2020ball

        Havent we known for like 6 months that he might not be ready for OD?

        I dont see the problem, but I guess i dont really pay attention to what Bell says because i really dont care. Every manager under the sun will give you manager speak.

      • LDS

        No @2020, every manager doesn’t obfuscate. We aren’t talking medical privacy, e.g. someone is out due to COVID, etc. We are talking publicly disclosed injuries/surgeries that everyone already knows about. I didn’t expect Votto, Senzel, or any number of the IL pitchers to be back this year. And numerous folks here objected, saying Votto will be ready, Senzel’s out playing golf, etc. Sims seems to be progressing better than I expected, so far. We’ll have to wait and see. I suspect pitching is in far worse shape than previously stated.

    • SteveAreno

      You can’t sell as many tickets in advance and create sports media attention if you announce now that JV will not be ready OD. Spring training will be a bust for him, it’s just too soon. But there is marketing in this business, you know.

    • Redsvol

      Add 2 months to whatever David bell says and you’ll be pretty close to when that player will show in major league games.

    • David

      Yeah, really, I do too. I hope he does recover and pitch, but I wouldn’t lay odds on that right now.
      Whatever is wrong with his shoulder, rest and whatever has not helped, and it is just as bad or worse than last year.

    • TR

      As we know, injuries and difficult recoveries are a part of the game.

  12. jessecuster44

    They knew he was damaged goods when they acquired him. Salary dump.

    The organization has been set back a decade because of bad trades like this.