The Cincinnati Reds have made two roster moves today, sending right-handed reliever Tony Santillan and outfielder Nick Senzel to Triple-A to begin a rehab assignment. The Louisville Bats open up a 6-game home series tonight against Indianapolis.

Nick Senzel played in three games at the tail end of spring training, going 0-5 with two strikeouts. He broke his toe near the end of the 2022 season, but it wasn’t healing properly and had to undergo surgery in November. He came to spring training close to ready, but did get a bit of a late start. Reds manager David Bell noted a few weeks ago that Senzel would get time in both the infield and the outfield while on rehab.

Tony Santillan saw his season in 2022 come to an end in the middle of June when he suffered a back injury. The issue took a while to recover from, and the injury kept him from beginning his 2023 preparation in enough time to be ready to start the season. While Santillan did throw during spring training, he never pitched in a big league game and was mostly throwing bullpen sessions. Towards the end of March he began to pitch in minor league games on the back fields.

Rehab assignment lengths are different for pitchers and for position players. A position player can only remain on a rehab assignment for 20 days. Pitchers get an additional 10 days, so they can remain on a rehab assignment for 30 days before a decision must be made.

Players can return from a rehab stint before their allotted time is up. Nick Senzel is eligible to return on Thursday April 6th. Tony Santillan is eligible to return on Tuesday April 11th. Neither of those timelines is likely to happen given the situations that both players found themselves in this spring, but it’s possible that they could return early if things go well.

Nick Senzel and Tony Santillan will be joining Joey Votto with Louisville while on rehab assignment. For anyone interested in watching the game tonight – it’s the Free Game of the Day on You can get more details about there here.

44 Responses

  1. David

    Are there any thoughts about Tony Santillan going back to being a starter, or is he now and forever a bullpen/relief pitcher?
    He’s a big guy with a big arm, and now has some ML experience (last season). He was pretty much a starter throughout his minor league career, as I recall

    Could he conceivably be better than Overton or Cessa? I could see he could be better than Overton. We will see Cessa pitch tonight against the Cubs.

    • CI3J

      Sims was also a starter.

      I’d like to see one of the two return to starting, and the other replaces Kuhnel in the bullpen. I also wonder if Overton would be good in the bullpen.

      • David

        I don’t think Lucas Sims has the strength right now to go back to being a starter. He now has (I am guessing here) chronic lower back problems, and will be limited in how much he can actually pitch, before he breaks down again (which I kind of expect this season). Which is too bad for him, really.
        Has Kuhnel actually been in a game yet? Sorry, I don’t have the box scores from all four games in front of me.

        Law looks good, Cruz has been good/bad, Gibaut has been good/bad, ditto Farmer.
        These guys aren’t supermen, and once the starters consistently go 6-7 innings (or more!!!), then the bullpen can start to get into a rhthym about pitching and rest days. If they don’t get burned down by circumstances, that is.

    • Doug Gray

      Forever is a long time. Luis Cessa’s starting now, so never say never…. but I don’t think the Reds are considering the move.

      • David

        The Reds have several potential starters in AA and AAA that could see the Majors this season. I just thought that making Tony Santillan a reliever last year was kind of an expediency move.
        TJ Antone was a pretty good starter in the Minors, too.

        I think when Chase Anderson gets healthy enough to pitch regularly for the Riverbats, he will likely replace Overton in the rotation, unless Overton starts pitching a lot better in his next few turns.
        For years, Overton was a very mediocre minor leaguer, and then last year, for a few weeks, he was really good for the Reds. I think now he is actually returning to his norm.

    • Melvin

      Santi should help one way or another.

    • Optimist

      At the very least can they have a reliever who goes more than 2 ip? Cubs did so yesterday and were all set for an extra inning or 2.

  2. Rednat

    Senzel is more of a sentimental story at this point. Even last year when healthy he didn’t bring a lot to the table. Just too many injuries to overcome. Having said that I will be rooting for him and Joey to make it back on the field this year.2 feel good stories to follow

  3. Bdh

    Senzel is going to really perform to earn a spot back right now imo. Vosler’s bat is big right now and he’s made some good defensive plays too.

    On the other hand I can’t wait for Santillan to return. Adds another legit high leverage arm to the bullpen. I’m guessing he’ll take Kuhnel’s spot since Bell hasn’t even bothered using him yet

    • Jimbo44CN

      We are four games in. Plenty of chances coming up for Kuhnel I am sure. He is not that bad of a reliever, just wondering why so many haters. I kind of acttually like him, big guy with a mean look on his face when he pitches. I know thats not scientific or stat worthy but I do think it means something and is good to have as a pitcher.

      • Bdh

        Who between he and Cruz would you send down for Santillan? It’s likely between those 2.
        Kuhnel had a nice spring. He’s fine to keep on the 40 man but I still don’t think he’s near a high leverage reliever. More of a guy you bring in the 4th-5th when the starter gets chased early or their pitch count gets high. Cessa isn’t too stretched out yet so we probably see him for a couple innings tonight. Hope he does well.

  4. LDS

    Will Senzel or Votto make the team better? In Senzel’s case, the answer probably not. In Votto’s, maybe. They’ll have to perform better than the player’s sent down to open the roster slots or team cohesion will suffer. That means probably Benson & Fairchild at the moment. That could change before they are ready to move up. In all honesty, Senzel would stay in Louisville if it were up to me. Make him earn his spot back. Votto is a Reds legend and can’t be left in AAA. That doesn’t mean he has to start every game and bat 4th. It depends on his performance. Even then, he feels more like a DH now than the starting 1B.

    • Optimist

      Joey should be hitting 2nd or 7th – I doubt he loses plate discipline, but we’ll see about the power. The OBP remains very valuable.

      • LDS

        He’s given up some plate discipline the last 4 years, last year having his highest SO rate of his career (25.8%) and his BB rate down to 11.7%. In fact, 3 of the last 4 years, his BB% is below his career average. His OBP while still decent hasn’t topped .400 since 2018. So still some value, particularly against RH’ers but no longer the force he once was. I can imagine him batting 2nd. I can’t imagine Bell slotting him below 5.

    • BK

      I’m going to take this opportunity to agree with LDS. Senzel should be optioned at the end of his rehab and promoted when his performance warrants.

      • DaveCT

        Agreed, after a long time looking and rooting for a more positive outcome. Honestly, as stated above, Senzel has been replaced. He’s now depth. I wouldn’t mind to see him optioned and traded for another buy low candidate.

    • Rednat

      I don’t know if they make the team better but I am really rooting for Joey and Nick. Both have been through a lot to get to this point. We are losing 100 games with them or without them. They are good comeback stories to follow at least

      • BK

        I am, too. Just think Senzel would benefit from some success at AAA before a return to the big show. Also, everyone on the big league roster earned their spot and it’s too early to reevaluate that. In fact, many thought Ramos earned a spot, too.

  5. LDS

    The lineup is out and Barrero isn’t playing. Following the history of Bell-speak, I expect an IL announcement in the next day or so. Sheldon’s tweet from yesterday:

    “Bell said Barrero was removed as a precaution. Would have kept him in the game had he been playing SS. Could be available tomorrow.”

    We’ve seen this pattern far too often.

    • old-school

      @ LDS- I am a big proponent of Barrero starting the majority of games at SS. He’s not in the lineup today because he tweaked a hamstring last night. Today is very wet and Tomorrow’s weather looks atrocious so I doubt the Reds play. It would seem prudent to give him the day off today and perhaps every one is off tomorrow and then you are sure he’s 100% for the upcoming road trip. He can get all the therapies he needs and take a day in the cage to hit. I will be right there with you if he’s not starting the majority of games at SS when 100% healthy over Newman but I dont see it happening in April and May. If Barrero is hitting .138 with a 40% K rate at memorial Day, that’s different. Newman is a fine back up utility player and if bell gives him a start at 3b to spell Steer once a week and India at 2b once a week, and Barrero 2 games out of 10, its ok.

      • LDS

        Had Bell said something it precautionary and it’ll be day-to-day for a few then no big deal. But that’s not what he said. That’s my issue. We’ve seen this from Bell more than once over the last few years – he’ll be available off the bench tomorrow, he’ll start tomorrow, etc. only to have an announcement shortly after of a trip to the IL. As for Barrero hitting .138, probably not. It’s possible, and if so, Newman still isn’t the answer. Those thinking Newman at 29 is going to turn into Barry Larkin need to wake up..

      • Luke J

        @LDS LOL How is saying “he was removed as a precaution. He could be available tomorrow” any different than your suggestion that he say “it’s precautionary and it’ll be day to day for a few”? Those two things sound the exact same to me. I think you are making far more out of “Bell speak” than is really there. I get being skeptical of Bell’s reports. But to say had he just said it your way instead and you wouldn’t be as concerned seems nuts.

      • Redsvol

        +2000. We don’t need barerro out 3 months with a hamstring issue – ala Jon India 2022.

    • Kevin H

      I agree LDS we have seen this pattern before, and albeit its one player this season its seems to be a theme with Bell. I admit though I do think Newman is a solid answer at ss and I am awake. LOL

      Not many players are Barry Larkin to begin with.

      • LDS

        Newman is rated at #30 among starting SS in the league. But, we’ll see how it plays out.

    • BK

      “Could” doesn’t mean will. More importantly, Bell doesn’t owe anyone a definitive answer on who will be in the next day’s lineup until the time the lineup card is due. Telling everything he knows about a player’s health in advance could give a planning advantage to opponents and would be careless.

    • LDS

      Bell said he would have left him in had he been playing SS

  6. Kevin H

    My hope is Senzel turns into the player he was his rookie year. Batting 264 if I am not mistaken. I am a fan of his, and most here know that, however I do agree his time is running out with the Reds.

    Been enjoying listening to the Reds on the Radio.

    • SultanofSwaff

      I’ve resorted to listening to the opposing team broadcasts. Sadak and Larkin are unlistenable to me (love Thrall and the Cowboy tho).

      • Jimbo44CN

        Yeah, Sadak seems to think that every second of air time needs to be filled with some kind of stat or weird coincidence or just nonsensical jabbering. Sometimes its better just to keep your mouth closed, even for announcers.

      • Doc

        Even the greatest symphonies ever written have rests in the scores.

      • redfanorbust

        Hey SultanofSwaff,
        IMO they are all credible announcers. Don’t know why you dislike Sadak/Larkin so much. Sadak does however tend to get a little sappy and overly sentimental with some of his musings. Thrall can be very matter of fact and bland when calling a game. Again these are minor things and I still feel every one is competent/well prepared and I enjoy them all.

    • Melvin

      I’d like to see Senzel succeed too but he’s at the point that he’ll have to prove it in my view.

    • JayTheRed

      I don’t get why people don’t like Sadak. Guy seems to be really organized and he provides a lot of excitement in his broadcasts. Larkin, I agree is not a very good broadcaster. He says the same things over and over again. Larkin doesn’t have an annoying voice though so I can just kinda block him out.

      • DaveCT

        For me, Sadak talks too much. It’s helpful when there is some empty air space. I’d recommend he cut back on the volume of superlatives, info, fun facts, trivia, etc. and call the actual game more.

        That said, dude does his homework, is organized and brings positive vibes v. A lot of negativity we’ve seen and heard over the years. Not criticism, negativity (Thom).

  7. old-school

    Senzel is playing CF and hitting 2nd
    Votto 1b and 3rd
    McLain SS and 4th

    Reynolds 2b and Lopez 3b

    • Melvin

      I have a feeling I’m going to watch more minor league games this year than ever before by a long shot.

      • DaveCT

        I have a feeling I’m never going to leave the house between Reds, M’s and the minors.

  8. Redsvol

    Saw in passing that Johnny cueto was going to the DL with biceps soreness. He got lit up last night and his spring #’s were terrible.

    I was hoping we would sign him for nostalgia purposes as our #5 starter, but he may be done as a major leaguer. The rule changes also took away a lot of his pre-windup deception. Hopefully he returns and can compete. Loved Johnny as a Red.

    • JayTheRed

      Only hope for the best for Johnny Baseball. Guy was one of my all-time favorite Reds pitchers.

  9. Old-school

    Looks like votto hasnt had the reps yet with AAA schedule to make the road trip to philly

    Bats play home thru sunday with an off day monday and road trip to toledo. Anyone think votto is going to Toledo? Id say Votto is in Atlanta Monday or cincy Tuesday ready for Philly home series thursday.