Things were going quite well for Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft over the first two innings of the day after he racked up five strikeouts while allowing just one hit. But in the 3rd inning he gave up a solo homer to lead off the frame and then loaded the bases with one out. While facing James Outman, Ashcraft fired a slider in the dirt and seemed to injure his leg. After the pitch he walked towards the back of the mound as the Reds trainer and manager David Bell walked to the mound. The conversation was short as Bell signaled that he was making a pitching change. Ashcraft then walked to the dugout with the trainer with what appeared to be a slight limp.

After exiting the game, Graham Ashcraft remained in the dugout to continue watching the game as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale. After the half-inning was over, Ashcraft was seen leaving the stadium, walking off through the outfield with what appeared to be some of the training staff. He would tell Charlie Goldsmith shortly after that it was just a “bad muscle cramp” and that it was “nothing”.

“It’s nothing” is good news. Cincinnati’s rotation only has three guys in it as of today. After Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft there is a competition for the 4th and 5th spots. When there’s a competition it’s usually because there aren’t ideal options. If the Reds were going to need to fill a third spot – even in the short term – with someone from that group, it wasn’t likely to be ideal at all.

Joey Votto’s return to the lineup

In his first game of spring training in 2023, Joey Votto picked up two plate appearances. Coming back from shoulder surgery in the second half of 2022, Votto got back in the batters box against Dustin May this afternoon and went 0-2. He struck out in his first plate appearance and then grounded out to third base in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

18 Responses

  1. old-school

    Reds needed to sign a professional pitcher at $8 million a year to start and a good bullpen lefty at $3-4 million to just be competitive and avoid Armageddon part 2. Injury bug on the pitching staff still in play for Armageddon part 2.

    • Optimist

      Comments from 2017? and 2018, and 2019, and . . .

    • Votto4life

      @old-School. I agree. Going into the season, depending on just two starting pitchers is a recipe for disaster. It is would be a fool’s errand even with a strong bullpen. With the Red’s bullpen, it’s really courting trouble.

      I truly expected them to sign an innings eater during the off-season. I hope it’s not too late.

      • Rob

        Granted we had more than our share of injuries last year, but negating that, one has to admit that this year’s roster is >20% weaker than last years first half roster. No Pham, Drury, Naquin, Farmer, Castillo, or Mahle. I think we are fairly confident that the young starters will be better than last year’s 6-7 wins but will they approach Castillo/Mahle levels of 12-14 wins? If they do, I would bet on 70-75 wins. If they don’t, because of ERAs, injuries, or offensive woes, then I don’t know that we will be any better than 60-65 wins. Obviously it is not a team with a lot of quality depth. Krall and Bell innings eater last year (Minor) was such a total disaster that I don’t know that they have the stomach to pursue this route again this year. More likely it will be Weaver and Andersen and hope for the best. Brilliant. I thought I was a loyal fan but some of this stuff is just unbelievable.

      • TR

        The Reds have the Big Three if they stay healthy. I was hopeing for a stronger bullpen coming up on two weeks before Opening Day, but again it looks not to be. Too many question marks injury-wise.

      • JayTheRed

        Reds solution call up Anderson to spring training. Team needed to sign at least one veteran. I don’t think there is much left on the market to get either.

    • Larry

      Johnny Cueto would’ve been perfect.

  2. Melvin

    Even just one of the ” Big Three” being down for an extended length of time could mean certain 100 losses. Would have been nice to have Cueto back.

    • Votto4life

      I see it more as the “Big 2 and a half”, but you are correct, it’s a lot to expect all three to get through the season without missing time or under performing.

  3. Doug Gray

    This article’s headline said “arly” instead of early for like 3 hours. I’m mad at every single one of us for not mentioning it.

    • AMDG

      So you got mad at folks who went 3 hours without checkign the site to spellcheck headlines? :/

  4. Melvin

    Hey. The article’s headline said “arly” instead of early. Just thought I’d tell ya. ?

  5. Old Big Ed

    It was in the low 80s, with bright sunshine and fairly windy, with very little humidity. Typical Arizona day this time of year, but those weather conditions cause quick dehydration, which in turn causes cramps but can also increase the risk of pulled muscles.

    I am sure the training staff wears the players out on drinking fluids with electrolytes, but something similar happens every year. We are lucky that it appears to be a hiccup, but players need to “camel up,” as they say.

    • Doc

      Moose “cameled up” last year and look what it did for his game. Camels store fat and they get much of their water as a by-product of fat metabolism. Plus, camels do not sweat nearly as much as do humans, thereby conserving water. Moose appeared to have stored up a lot of fat last year but it neither helped his performance nor his endurance.

      Regarding signing innings eaters, the last two of those they signed were innings nibblers, they certainly didn’t eat them in large chunks. They did, however, accept paychecks in big chunks. I’d rather see the young guys get the innings. I’d much rather watch a Williamson develop than a Minor sink. A loss is a loss either way, but the younger guys would be more interesting to follow.