Tonight is a big night for Cincinnati Reds reliever Tejay Antone. After exploding onto the scene in 2020 with the Reds and posting a 2.80 ERA in 35.1 innings, the right-handed reliever was even better in 2021. That season he posted a 2.14 ERA and picked up three saves while throwing 33.2 innings. But unfortunately he couldn’t get through the season. Antone tore the UCL in his pitching elbow and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. It was his second such surgery in his career.

August 24th, 2021. That was the last game that Tejay Antone pitched in with the big league club. Tonight, one year and 11 months later, he begins a rehab assignment out in Arizona. He’ll join the Arizona Complex League Reds team – the lowest level in the United States for the organization (they have a team in the Dominican Republic that is considered to be a level lower). This will just be the first stop for Antone. As his rehab assignment goes along he will move up to other levels and face better competition.

The team has not laid out a public plan for Antone at this point as far as how long they expect him to be on a rehab assignment or when and where he will move up. Some of that may depend on how he pitches and how his arm recovers from his outings. What we do know is that his rehab assignment can last up to 30 days before the Reds have to make a decision on whether to activate him, or put him back on the injured list and shut him down – much like they did with Joey Votto and Tony Santillan earlier this year when both began rehab assignments in April.

August 23rd would be the 31st day for the Reds and Antone. Assuming he stays healthy, that’s the day that they would need to make a decision. It would be the day before the 2-year anniversary of his last big league outing.

38 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Excellent news. If we can get 80-90% of the TJ Antone from the past, that’s like a solid trade to me.

    • Oldtimer

      If Reds get ANY % from him after TWO TJ surgeries, it will be a gift from the baseball gods.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    How would be the Reds team if Antone had been with the club 100% healthy this all season…Hopefully he could return to pitch in the big leagues at least nearly as his usual shape… Great boost…

  3. JB WV

    Good luck, TJ. What an excruciating couple of years it must have been

  4. Steve Schoenbaechler

    For Antone’s health, I wouldn’t even worry about Aug. 31. Just progress him steadily. Once he’s ready, he will know it. Right now, work, give time to rest, work, give time to rest. The worst thing he can do is work too hard to come back and hurt it some more.

  5. Votto4life

    I really hope Tejay is able to make it back at some point. He seems like a good guy and I hope he makes it back, if not with the Reds, then with another team.

    I am not counting on any of the pitchers on the IL to contribute anything this season though.

    It’s too bad that Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene basically lost a year of development.

    I think Hunter will eventually be a solid pitcher for the Reds, although he will probably not have the type of career, we all were hoping for when he was drafted. I am far less hopeful of Nick Lodolo.

    The Reds should approach the off season not counting on major contributions from Greene or Lodolo in 2024. If they end up contributing, that’s terrific, but the Reds should not put all of their eggs in that basket again.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I can understand your concern. That’s what they may use the rest of this season for, more “Do we need to do something for next season” rather than “we have the playoffs to consider for this season”.

      It’s all going to be one day at a time. For this season, there’s no guarantee Greene, Lodolo, nor any of them coming back are going to be any good this season. It might be a “fresh arm” but a “good arm”?

      As well as any of the minor leaguers coming up. There’s no guarantee they are going to be successful at this level.

      I think both Greene and Lodolo can still both make it. At the beginning of the season, it still seemed to me that Greene was still a thrower a bit and not a pitcher, hitting spots with his pitches, etc. I felt Lodolo was more attune with that. But, efective for 2024? It was asking a lot of them for this season. Next season? I just don’t think I would count on it. Not yet. We should still give them a season or two to learn. I can still see both of them and Ashcraft as a 1/2/3 combination that could be hard to beat. But, next year, I would just like to see them be a 3/4/5 combination.

      But, then, Williamson, Lively, and AA? 3 pitchers for 2 spots.

      I can’t help thinking that Lucas Giolito is looking better and better for next year. I just read he turned down $50 for 4 years from the White Sox. Could we get him for $55? Like going into this season, I would definitely like to see one arm I could count on to be a “stalwart” on this staff.

      • 2024WSChamps

        You act as though they Greene and Lodolo got TJ too. Greene has a minor hip injury, just needed some PT and was pitching great before heading to the IL. I promise you the Reds are definitely expecting him to contribute over the final 6 weeks of the season. Lodolo is recovering from a more serious injury, so this year he may never be available. However, both should be considered big parts of next year’s rotation, especially Greene. The Reds didn’t hand him a 6/7yr deal thinking he might flame out.

      • Doc

        Both Greene and Lodolo injuries were not arm injuries. Their arms should be sound. It’s the rest of their bodies that need to be improved.

      • Votto4life

        2024 Champs Greene has had TJ surgery. Neither Greene or Lodolo has pitched more than 126 innings. What have they done to this point for you to have such confidence.

        The Reds front office should attempt to acquire at least solid starters this winter. The Reds have enough payroll flexibility to spend $40 million dollars on a couple of solid starters.

        If Greene and Lodolo are able to contribute in 2024 then fine, can’t have too much pitching.

        What I wouldn’t do is depend on Greene and Lodolo Again like they did this year because it was an epic fail.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      If I recall correctly, Lodolo’s injury was his leg. And, legs can be huge for pitchers.

      For Greene, I heard it was his hip. Located in his core. The core is the basis for all other movement. That can be key, also.

      Pitching isn’t just all about arms.

  6. LDS

    Hopefully, he can progress but I’m thinking it’s a tough ask. Two TJs is tough to come back from.

    • Harry Stoner

      It will be interesting to see what approach to pitching he takes.

      IIRC Antone came out of the high velocity / high spin rate school.

      Will he return to that, or take on another approach, perhaps less stressful to that area of repair?

    • David

      I am frankly surprised he is even pitching and has velocity. The second TJ surgery usually ruins a pitcher’s arm for good.
      I do expect Greene to come back this year, but it’s anybody’s guess as to whether he will be effective, dominant, or wild.
      Lodolo, a guy named “Nick”. Bad juju for guys named “Nick” with the Reds.
      Nick Travieso, Nick Howard, Nick Senzel and now Nick Lodolo.
      Anyways, Connor Phillips is waiting at AAA, and may be up around July 31st (I am just guessing).
      Several other guys are behind him, maybe later in 2024 or 2025.
      And the guy that was the Reds’ #1 draft choice this year will likely not spend many seasons in minor league ball.

      • Doc

        Complete a form and pay a few bucks and his name is no longer ‘Nick’! Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

      • Harry Stoner

        Add Nick Esasky to the list of the jinxed.

      • PTBNL

        Nick Castellanos was a pretty good “Nick” for the Reds

  7. Chris

    @2024WSChamps You are so right. I don’t know where some of this stuff comes from? Green will be back soon and probably produce very much like he did before going on the IL. Lodolo will be fine too, but maybe not until next season. Yeah, let’s just not count on our two best young prospect pitchers, one of which has now been signed to a long term contract worth millions. SMH

    • MBS

      To be fair, you can’t count on either, as both have had decent stints on the IL in their 2 years as a MLB’er, and more in the minors. We made the mistake of counting on the big 3 to carry the club this year, and you see how that worked out. We are fortunate that Williamson has come on strong, and a switch got turned on for Lively. Abbott was also a stretch to pencil into a 23 rotation.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I have to agree.

        I thought, if they stayed healthy, that we could possibly get through the season when them fine. No ace, mind you. But, something like what’s been said before, if from those three, I was thinking if we could get 500 innings total from Greene, Lodolo, and Ashcraft, I would be happy, regardless of ERA. For next season, I would be happy just to see 400 innings from them, or even just 100 innings from each.

        With that, I just don’t see us going into next season with who we have for pitching. Oh, sure, we all could be surprised. But, with this, we are talking about not just “a youth movement”. We are talking about coming back from injury. Not so easy to do.

        Even if “the big 3” are back next season, I don’t see them being #1/ #2/#3 in the order. The closest I see for #1 would be AA and Ashcraft. Ashcraft hasn’t look too good the last several outings. And, it would be an awful lot for someone who was at AA just this year to be the #1 man on staff. “On paper”, AA might be our #1. But, as of now, I see nothing but a bunch of #3-#5 guys. Several do have huge upsides. But, that’s upsides, not now, not the beginning of 2024.

        So, I would like to see a veteran or two to be able to step into that starting rotation for a bit, till the youngsters are properly ready.

      • Votto4life

        Right MBS, and Hunter Greene has already had Tommy John Surgery once already.

    • Votto4life

      Neither Greene or Lodolo has pitched more than 126 innings in a season. They have both spent most of their first two years on the IL and Greene has already had TJ surgery. But yeah, by all means, waste another year depending on what we want to be, instead of what is.

  8. LDS

    The lineup is out and Votto is still getting Bell’s veteran privilege. Maybe he’ll hit a HR tonight so everyone can start salivating “Joey’s back”.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      What do you expect from Bell? The same batting order. “I bet we get them tonight.” I mean, no one ever creates a batting order like this.

      As for the defense, I’m wondering why Fraley is DH and Steer is in the OF? But, we aren’t allowed to question Bell here. It’s all part of his master plan.

      • LDS

        Yep, this team will never reach their potential until Bell is replaced.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Agreed. Krall deserves his own manager. When Bell was hired, no competent manager wanted to have anything to do with the Reds. The Reds scraped the bottom of the barrel. Bell came up.

      • greenmtred

        Did you notice that the saintly Counsell has a guy who’s hitting .208 with a .692 OPS batting 3rd? Have you noticed that his batting order doesn’t produce with risp?

    • Hanawi

      There’s multiple parts of the lineup that don’t make any sense beyond Votto. And it’s really strange how locked in Bell has been on the same lineups over the past few weeks given how in the past he used to have a different lineup nearly every game that seemed to rotate randomly.

      • greenmtred

        Rumor has it that Bell reads RLN and got so discouraged by the constant sniping about his changeable lineups that he decided to be consistent in order to mollify us.

    • Optimist

      There are lots of reasons to not renew Bell’s contract, but there were also lots of reasons to hire him initially. Unless the Braves win the World Series it may stun lots of folks when Bell is selected as manager of the year, and stun more if he’s not renewed.

      All of that could happen.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree. I think there are hints he isn’t Krall’s type. Questions are will Krall make the final call; and, if he does and the team hangs in to the end whether or not they make the postseason, would Krall make the change?

        FWIW or not, Dave Bristol was fired after winning 89 games in 1969 and finishing 3rd (5 games back) in his fourth season as Reds manager. His 3+ season record was 298-265 (.529 winning %).

      • Mark Moore

        There is one reason only for all of that … it’s the Bell name and overt nepotism. It got him there; it keeps him there. We can only hope he doesn’t get renewed regardless of the outcome, up to and including winning it all.

      • Optimist

        Jim brought up the Dave Bristol precedent, which was in the back of my mind. Dave is a good guy and had a great record before becoming the Refs manager as the manager in MiLB who prepped a lot of what became the BRM. He’s also still very active on social media – go find him on FB.

        Still, Bob Howsam had his eyes set forward and knew just the guy to take the BRM forward.

        The comparisons end there, though. Howsam had vast experience compared to Krall, and Dave had a clearly better track record than D Bell.

        Which will make this off season very interesting.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        Very few if any reasons to have initially hired Bell. Before Bell, we finished last in the division 4 straight seasons, preceded by a 3rd and 4th place finish. No competent manager wanted anything to do with the Reds. So, the Reds had to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Up came Bell, someone who never managed in the majors before. I wouldn’t be surprised it was a “nepotism” type of hire.

        But, now, at the point that Krall has the team, with the talent is has, I would have to think we can get a more competent manager in here fairly easily.

  9. Harry Stoner

    So….who’s on the short list for replacement?

    • greenmtred

      Steve and LDS. Always top of any rational list.

  10. CFD3000

    The one thing that gives me a little more hope than just “he’s recovering enough to start a rehab stint” is that the technology and medical skills continue to evolve. It’s true that coming back from a second TJ surgery has been tough. But that’s with guys who had their surgeries longer ago than Antone. He had the best, newest, state of the art version. Maybe the success rate is higher now.