Tony Santillan hasn’t pitched in a big league game in over a year. The right-handed reliever pitched last on June 13th of 2022 and then he went on the injured list with a back injury and he did not return during the season. That same injury kept him from starting spring training on time. He recovered from the low-back stress fracture, but before he was able to get all of the necessary work in to return to the big leagues both his knee and his hamstring began to cause him issue, delaying his return.
The Cincinnati Reds sent him out on his second rehab assignment – he was on one for a week in early April before the other injuries popped up and he was shut down for two months – on June 13th. Essentially, he’s been using his rehab stint as spring training. There have been some ups and downs along the way, but last night was the best outing he’s had.
Santillan has been on his rehab assignment for 18 days – including today. Last night saw him throw a scoreless inning while allowing a hit and striking out three of the four hitters he faced. It was the first game on rehab that he didn’t walk a batter since his first one in June when he only recorded one out while giving up three hits.
He’s been working with his fastball often, throwing it 60% of the time during his most recent rehab stint. It’s been working in the 95-98 MPH range, averaging 96.4 MPH. His slider has been used 35% of the time, and he’s mixed in a few change ups along the way, too. This is a rehab assignment, so we shouldn’t place too much on what’s happening, but the fastball usage is higher than it’s been in his big league career, and his slider usage is down.
Pitchers can remain on a rehab assignment for up to 30 days. With Santillan entering Friday as his 18th day, he’s less than two weeks from returning, if not sooner as long as he can remain healthy.
Antone and Gutierrez
Tony Santillan isn’t the only Reds pitcher on the rehab path after missing more than the last year. Tejay Antone and Vladimir Gutierrez are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers are out in Arizona working on their rehab, but both have recently progressed to throwing off of the mound. Both are further out from a return, but both also seem to be on the right track.