It has been nearly two years since Tejay Antone pitched in the big leagues. Before he injured his elbow in August of 2021 the right-handed pitcher had a 2.48 ERA in parts of two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. Mostly used out of the bullpen (32 of his 36 games came as a reliever), Antone threw 69.0 innings and allowed just 37 hits and struck out 87 batters to go along with 29 strikeouts.
He would miss all of the 2022 season after having Tommy John surgery late in 2021 – the second of his career. This year he suffered a setback just before spring training began. He would get PRP treatment to help his recovery.
On July 25th he would begin his official rehab assignment out in Arizona with the complex team. His first outing went well, throwing a perfect inning with a strikeout. The next time out he struggled, recording just one out while giving up three runs on three hits – including a home run – and he had one strikeout.
For Antone and the Reds, the early results weren’t of concern. It was more about just getting out on the mound, getting game time in and remaining healthy. After those first two outings in Arizona, the Reds sent him up to Triple-a to continue his rehab assignment.
The first two outings with Louisville went well as he tossed a shutout inning in each appearance, allowing one hit and picking up one strikeout. The third outing was a struggle. He entered the game with two men on, then allowed a walk, a single, and a grand slam before recording an out. Antone was charged with three earned runs in 1.1 innings that night in St. Paul.
Yesterday, in the series finale, he was back on the mound against the Saints in St. Paul. Things went much better this time around as Antone fire off a perfect inning with two strikeouts.
Tejay Antone has now made six appearances while on rehab. In four of them he’s allow one hit, walked no one, and struck out five batters in 4.0 innings. But in the other two he’s allowed six runs on six hits – including two home runs – with a walk and three strikeouts in 1.2 innings.
We don’t have any Hawkeye (the system used to give us all of the Statcast data) information from his first two outings in Arizona. But the system is set up in Triple-A stadiums and we do have the data for all four of his outings with the Bats.
The velocity is down for Tejay Antone compared to when he was last pitching. In 2020 his fastball averaged 95.9 MPH. In 2021 that jumped up to 97.0 MPH. Over his first four outings with Louisville he’s averaging 93.5 MPH. That does come with a pretty big asterisk, though. Antone has gone from throwing a 4-seam fastball to a 2-seam fastball. The velocity is down, but he’s getting five inches of sink compared to his 4-seamer and about another inch and a half of running action.
Antone didn’t show his curveball in either of his first two outings with the Bats, but he’s thrown in about 25% of the time in his last two outings, while also mixing in his slider and fastball. Interestingly, his slider velocity is up more than a full MPH – averaging 85.0 MPH so far. The curveball is right in line with where it’s been in the past in terms of velocity.
Pitchers get up to 30 days on their rehab assignments. With Antone, his final day he can pitch on a rehab assignment will be August 23rd. That’s 10 days from now. Cincinnati will not only have to figure out what to do with Antone (add him to the 26-man roster, option him to the minors), but they will also have to then figure out what to do when it comes to a 40-man move. Antone is currently on the 60-day injured list and does not count towards the 40-man roster limit, but once he is activated he will and the club will have to make room. It won’t be their only decision to make on that front in the near future – Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, both who are also currently out on rehab assignments, are also on the 60-day injured list and will likely be returning soon.