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.

68 Responses

  1. DHud

    Reds need him and need him now, along with Gutierrez and Legumina and Dunn and anyone else who may be effective out of the bullpen

    The current staff is all but done being able to tread water

    • RedBB

      I dunno. I think he would be up already if the Reds felt he was an upgrade to who is already on the team. ie Duarte, Cruz and Farmer.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    Obviously the slider is his calling card, but there was nice movement on Antone’s 2 seamer, which should induce a fair number of ground balls. Seems like the slow curve was a show-me to left handers, but it gives hitters one more thing to consider.

    Seems like Bell finally understands that Sims just isn’t that 8th inning guy, which should create an opening for Antone.

    At the moment, it would appear that Weaver, Duarte, and Hopkins would be the 3 who get bumped.

    • Eric

      Busenitz will get dumped along with Weaver and I believe Siani

    • RedBB

      The problem is none of these guys are 8th inning guys to be honest. Sims, Farmer, Young or Gibault for that matter. These guys are all mid to back end of the pen guys on a good team IMO.

    • BZ

      Newman should be bumped before Hopkins, Siani, or anyone that may remotely be in future plans. Newman is just wasting a roster spot at this point. He is nothing more than a below average fielder that hits semi-decently against lefties. He means nothing to the ‘24 team.

      • BZ

        Haha no he isn’t. Watching him play tells me that but also so do the stats. He has a negative defensive runs saved at SS, 2B, and 3B for the season (and for his career).

      • greenmtred

        They can only carry 13 pitchers. Dumping a position player to make room for a pitcher doesn’t address that.

  3. LDS

    Unfortunately, the rehab results on many of these guys is mixed. Santillian, Antone, Gutierrez, even Greene. Some signs for optimism but an abundance of caution. I’d rather they were good to go next year rather than rushed back this year. I suspect the Reds chances for the playoffs this year are about gone.

    • MBS

      I think out of this group, Greene is the only one I’d be concerned about rushing back. Santillan, Gutierrez, and Antone don’t need to be stretched out, so it’s really just a matter of effectiveness. An inning in AAA is the same as an inning in the MLB.

    • Tar Heel Red

      I watched Louisville play Saturday. Gutierrez came in to pitch and got slaughtered. He was replaced by Santillan and he was even worse. Possibly just a one-time thing, but if they perform like that I wouldn’t look for them in Cincy any time soon.

    • Melvin

      Milwaukee lost 1-0 last night to the Dodgers. I wouldn’t say our playoff hopes are gone just yet. Only two games back even in the lost column.

  4. LT

    It’s a lot, probably unfair, to expect Antone to come back after 2 years off and fill the set up role, but what is there to lose? Whether it’s set up role or stranding runners role, or any fresh arm that can consistently throw strikes will be a big help.

  5. Doc

    Amazing that anyone could think that the Reds chances are suddenly brighter when they get back two guys who haven’t pitched competitively in two years, and another guy who hasn’t pitched more than a few outings competitively at the MLB level in his entire career. Especially considering that their rehab results against minor leaguers are mixed at best.

    • SteveAReno

      It is amazing, but hope springs eternal. I hope he stays in Louisville the entire rehab time to get better.

  6. Jason Franklin

    Hasn’t Weaver proven that he is a detriment to the team? A guy that can only go, at most, 4 innings as a starter is killing a bullpen. He may work as a long arm but that’s it. Does management think he has something special that just hasn’t been tapped into as of yet?

    I would rather see Kennedy as the long man at this point. Why reward Weaver with even a spot on the roster?

    • Harry Stoner

      Weaver is an enigma.

      He’s got a good mix of pitches that occasionally he’ll sequence well and locate dead on.


      Then he’ll lose the plate or groove something.

      Sometimes you’ll see both with the same hitter.

      A lack of concentration or focus?

      When he gets hit or rattled he can melt down immediately.

      Does he have options?

      He should have been in Louisville working on this long ago.

      Williamson displayed similar things but seems to be getting it together.

      Weaver is making no progress at all.

      I guess he isn’t getting hammered as regularly, but maybe because he’s getting yanked sooner.

      If possible I’d give him some time in Louisville before jettisoning completely.

      Doesn’t seem like much of a risk dfa-ing him off the 40 man roster.

      • Melvin

        I agree Harry that Weaver, at times, shows good stuff. He just can’t make it work consistently for whatever reasons(s).

      • greenmtred

        I agree with you guys. Yesterday, in a short outing during which he allowed 4 runs, he struck out 7 and walked 1. There’s something there, but there’s something else that makes it all go awry. I’ve thought at times that I could see him–panicking?–at the first sign of trouble. It’s too bad.

      • Old Big Ed

        Weaver has over 5 years of service time and has no options left. In theory, the Reds could ask him to go to the minors, but he could refuse, and the Reds would still be on the hook for his salary.

        They are going to keep him on the roster at least until Greene wakes up on Wednesday with a healthy arm. Then, they will have to decide to DFA him or give him a shot in the bullpen. I suppose that they could “agree” to put him on the DL with a sprained ear, send him to Louisville for a few relief stints, and then decide what to do. He might work as a long reliever, or what used to be known as a mop-up man. Given that they can only bring up 1 pitcher on September 1, there would seem to be a role for a mop-up man.

        They won 12 of his 21 starts, but it was at the cost of a lot of bullpen wear and tear. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t try using an “opener” with him, so that he would never be asked to face the top of the order 3 times.

    • Ted Alfred

      I don’t understand why Kennedy wasn’t giving the chance to be the fifth starter two months ago when he started and pitched pretty well versus the Nationals. The only thing I can come up with is David Bell really likes Weaver and that’s why he’s still here… nothing else makes sense.

      Of course that doesn’t make sense either, just like batting Elly at leadoff for a month while your team is nosediving doesn’t make sense and a myriad of other things David Bell does… so I think there’s your answer.

  7. Melvin

    Sounds like everything is positive to me. I’m not concerned in the least about a couple of bad outings. He’s doing really well in my view and I wouldn’t be surprised if his velocity increases eventually as well. This is a big deal especially for someone who’s gone through two TJ surgeries. He may not be what he once was, at least at the beginning, but I’d definitely want him back to see what he can do now. That would be big.

    • Harry Stoner

      My concern is having Bell manage Antone’s return post TJ 2.

      His BP approach burns through a lot of arms.

      The desperate need for BP help shouldn’t risk Antone’s recovery.

      I’d be surprised if we see Gutierrez in 2033, maybe he’ll stay working in AAA.

      Leguimina has a long way to go.

      • Melvin

        Well if you want to include David Bell then everything is a concern. lol

      • greenmtred

        The bullpen works a lot, certainly. That’s inevitable when your team is in contention, playing lots of close games and dealing with modern starters. They haven’t had an undue number of injuries to relief pitchers, though, have they?

      • Harry Stoner

        Guys aren’t rotating onto the IL from the BP, but there is circumstantial evidence that folks are getting worn out from over-use.

        The question is whether a guy coming off of TJ2 should get into the meat grinder of use in the Bell-Krall system.

        Can they afford the roster spot to ease Antone back in with less frequent use?

      • Rob

        Krall had all the data you presented on August 1 and decided he didn’t need to make any upgrades to the pitching staff. And we were in first place. Krall spoke about Greene and Lodolo being on the horizon. So given our bullpen situation, I would guess we will see max innings out of our starters down the stretch. Hasn’t that always been the plan? If you were going to baby some starters down the stretch, wouldn’t you had bolstered our rotation?

      • greenmtred

        They are tired, Harry. I’m just not sure that there’s any team in baseball without a tired bullpen. MLB starting pitchers are averaging fewer than 6 innings per start, and teams can only carry 13 pitchers. That’s likely why pretty much every team was looking for relief pitchers at the trade deadline.

      • Harry Stoner

        Yes, I imagine BPs are tired all over, but Reds relievers are well towards the leading edge of appearances and innings.

        This is a factor of poor SP and the Bell method.

        But this is a distraction.

        My point was concern about a pitcher on YJ2 coming back from a short rehab and possibly getting thrown into the high use pattern of Bell-Krall’s BP management.

        @GMR, you may contend that “Bell knows things…” about Antone and his status, but we’ve just learned from India and Lively that the intra team communication on injury status isn’t as open as you would expect.

        Just read Bell’s comments on Fraley’s injury for a good dose of mumble-core.

    • Ted Alfred

      I wonder if Antone’s getting hurt with the same pitch over and over in His poor AAA outings or if it’s all of his pitches just not being as sharp as hecwould like as far as movement and location?

      • Indy Red Man

        He’s been scored on once in 4 outings. Let him rehab at GABP and get Farmer out of Dodge

      • Rick

        Good question. Would be good to know for sure.
        We know with veterans rehabbing it’s about the work and not necessarily the results, but Tejay wasn’t established and probably needs to test his stuff, and can I locate with movement.
        I’ve wondered about his high spin rate and his fb velo, and does he make alterations to his makeup for his health going forward? What carries over & what changes?

    • LT

      I’ve been hearing that our relievers are over used. Is it based on the number of appearances or the number of innings pitches? I don’t have the data, but my guess is they have more appearances than other teams relievers but I am not sure about innings pitched. Anyone has insight in this?

      • Tom Diesman

        Reds relievers lead the league with 443 G and the Dodgers are 2nd at 414 G. Reds are 3rd in reliever IP at 467 IP and the Giants are 1st at 513.1. But it appears that the Giants use an opener quite often that greatly affects their IP ranking for relievers IP.

      • Luke J

        During one of the games last week they put up a graphic showing that the Reds have 4 of the top 5 relievers in terms of innings pitched. And it was our best 4 relievers.

      • LT

        Thank you. Look like Reds relievers have earned their paycheck so far, going by the workload for sure and I guess by quality of work as well. Overall I think they have done well until the recent collective struggle.

  8. Soto

    I’m holding out hope that Antone returns and gives them another reliable bullpen arm. If he is anywhere near what he was pre-injury, it could be just what the Reds need. He was really good before he got hurt. Without a healthy Greene, Lodolo and Antone the chances the Reds make the playoffs are pretty slim. We need them all. Hopefully we hit the trifecta.

    • Rick

      We need all 3 really bad. Yeah, Hunter soon if no setbacks, & Lodolo, hopefully by month’s end are absolute musts.
      Antone had closer stuff written all over him. Him & Diaz for the 8th & 9th would have been a force.

  9. MK

    I went back and looked at YouTube video to compare it to this one and he has definitely changed his follow through. In little league we always heard “bend your back”, which really makes no sense. But now in his follow through he is bending forward at the waist much more and his right leg follow through is much less violent. This should really help with the deceleration of his arm and shoulder, lessening the chance of future injury.

    • Rick

      Good insight MK.
      I hope that for his sake he stays healthy for his own well being.
      And, I’m hoping that he gives us a reliable well above average(ok, I’m hoping for an elite level in due time) relief option if or when he returns.

    • Rick

      That’ll likely cost him a tick or 2 off his velo, and reduce his rpm’s some, cost some snap off. That better follow through will reduce quiet a bit of torque from his arm/shoulder and transfer more to his thighs where it should be.
      Come to think about it, Chris Welsh use to point out how erect and horizontal his front side was after his release.
      I don’t care about spinrate & velo near as much as movement, depth, and location.

      • capnhook33

        Yep this is probably also why he has added a sinker to his repertoire. He’s trading velo for movement and keeping the ball in the yard.

  10. MBS

    I think today is Greene day in AAA. It would be nice to see him get 5+ easy innings. Hopefully this week we see Antone, and Gutierrez get back to back days this week. I’m ready for some fresh arms. It feels like to little to late, but it’s what we’ve been left with.

    • David

      Sunday, August 20th would be the fifth day after Greene’s start today. If he is healthy and effective, I would guess he will be activated on the 20th and start against the Blue Jays. He has said that he is NOT throwing as hard as he can in rehab….so far. Maybe he cranks it up a little today. I guess we shall see.
      Don’t overlook the fact that these guys WANT to come back and pitch.

      And it is only mid – August. The Reds are not “done” until they are mathematically eliminated. And that will be a while (late September). A lot can happen in the next month and a half. No one expected them to be this close in mid-May.

    • Jim Walker

      Yes, the pitching is consistently better at MLB; but, I am going to stick to my guns that part of what is going on with CES and even more so EDLC is the adjustment to the variability of MLB umps from night to night.

      The knock on both CES and EDLC coming into 2023 was they were prone to being chasers. At AAA where the ABS system was the final say in ball/ strike calls, both seemed to have overcome these tendencies and to be dialed in on their personal strike zones.

      Now suddenly they look like undisciplined chasers again. I do not think this is purely the result of the breaking pitches being better because both of them are swinging at pitches which are never in the strike zone even ahead of the break. They’ve lost their zones; and, part if that has to be the difference among umpires.

      • wkuchad

        Interesting take Jim, and it makes sense.

        If you’re right, it seems like it would make sense to fight through their struggles at the major league level versus going back to AAA to ‘find their zones’.

      • greenmtred

        Very interesting point, Jim. I was struck, Sunday’s game, by a short segment Sadak did on the system the Reds use to apply data on match-ups during the game. Evidently it’s considerably more sophisticated than just lefty/righty splits and includes location and pitch selection tendencies of opposing pitchers and how they apply to various Reds’ hitters and their tendencies in regard to various pitches. I expect that other teams have some version of this. Do you know if this is done in AAA? If not, it could–in addition to the umpiring–cause the young hitters a lot of trouble.

  11. Roger Garrett

    If our pen is gassed and guys like Buck for a long time and Sims aren’t helping then why not bring up some fresh arms when they are ready?Neither IMO will be here next year so why not take a look at some guys that just might.I like Duarte even before he got the save.Hits 97 on the gun.How about Phillips?Starter in the making with powerstuff and arm could help.Trying to win games and at the same auditioning guys for next year is tough but if the pen again is gassed and guys just aren’t getting it done what other choice is there?

    • Jim Walker

      I’d guess they are holding Phillips and Richardson back as starter depth in case somebody doesn’t make it back to MLB or somebody already in the MLB rotation has to be shut down.

      • David

        I think right now it is a 40 man roster crunch thing.

        With several pitchers about to come back that are on the 60 day IL, somebody has to come off both the 40 man and the 26 man roster.

        I think that the Reds are loathe to put Phillips on the 40 man, risking losing another prospect that is already on the 40 man.

        There are several pitching alternatives to take off the 40 man. Busenitz, although pitching well in AAA, has not pitched that well in the Majors. I think he goes. Would the Reds lose Weaver outright if they DFA’d him, only to have Greene re-injure himself (a possibility) in the 10 days following his activation?
        And how far away is Ben Lively, Vladimir Guitierrez, TJ Antone, Nick Lodolo. Rosters expand after Sept 1, but only by two, and only one pitching spot.
        How soon does the post-season roster have to be set, ie, how soon does someone have to be up with the Reds to be on the post-season roster, should the Reds make it?

  12. Hotto4Votto

    Remember when Antone said he hoped to be back for the playoff push this season and we all kind of laughed it off as extreme optimism. Well, here we are and there is indeed a playoff push to be pursued. Let’s hope he can get back soon and provide a little help to an overworked bullpen.

    Adding back Greene, Lodolo, Gutierrez, and Antone to the 40-man will be sure to cause some roster casualties. Busenitz is the most obvious subtraction, but after that it’s not as clear. Kennedy probably has the least future upside among the remaining pitchers, but may help more now. Santillan has been pretty brutal in AAA but it may be too early to give up on him as he’s just getting back. Do we really need three catchers on the 40-man? Is Casali in danger of being cut after completing rehab? Siani appears to be the most expendable position player and isn’t hitting in AAA. Or do the Reds make preemptive roster move that would likely take place this offseason and say goodbye to Senzel (or Newman, Ramos) now? Does keeping Weaver make sense once we get some starters back. Has Stoudt done enough to hang around?

    Lots of roster questions looming.

    • Jim Walker

      Unless Ramos does zilch, I think he sticks until Fraley is back (at least). Louisville begins a new series tonight in Iowa which could shine some light on the Senzel situation.

      Casali has around $1.5m in combined remaining 2023 salary and 2024 option buyout money still on his contract. He is not going to forfeit that by declining an outright assignment. However, he would have to clear waivers.

      Given Santillan’s ongoing struggles, they might just risk sending him through waivers.

      • David

        Yes, I think you have to let Casali go, despite him being a really good guy.

        And depending on how Nick Senzel is doing, the Reds could outright him. If someone is interested, maybe they do a waiver deal. But the Reds are still stuck with only 13 pitchers on the 26 man roster.
        Siani is a guy that other teams would definitely be interested in, and he is a good CF, but just not hitting.
        Blake Dunn is ripe to be promoted to AAA and could play CF for the Riverbats.

    • Harry Stoner

      What the Reds do with Senzel will be interesting.

      I don’t forsee him coming back even if he tears up AAA unless there’s more OF injuries.

      If he hits well playing regularly in AAA he might reestablish some trade value.

      Otherwise I see him non-tendered come Winter.

      DFAing him now would be a serious slap down and suggest some bad blood with Krall.

      India could well move to the 60 day, particularly if surgery is called for for his PF.

      Siani seems to have trade value but if he’s not hitting now, he likely won’t soon.

      I wouldn’t miss, or likely notice, him gone.

      • Jim Walker

        Who wouldn’t like to be the fly on the wall in the Reds offices or Boras’ HQ when Senzel is being discussed?

        Some folks whose opinions I value were speculating over on the X (FKA Twitter) Senzel going back to AAA was a planned move to get him PAs with the Reds having the 3 off days and prospects of opposing LH starters vs them looking unlikely over the minimum time for Senzel to be down. However, this was before Senzel took his full 72 hours to report (assuming he has now reported) which would seem to make this theory overcome by events.

        If Barrero can’t pull a ticket back to MLB with a BA/OBP/SLG/OPS line of .274/.349/.543/.892 in 189PAs at AAA, what would it take to get Senzel?

    • David

      @ H4V
      Reviewing yesterday’s game at Louisville, Lively got clobbered in the first inning (on rehab assignment). He may be a ways away from rejoining the Reds.

      The bullpen (TJ Antone, Connor Phillips (S) and Casey Legumina (W) held St. Paul scoreless the rest of the way (shortened by rain).
      Connor Phillips pitching in relief. Interesting.

      • Roger Garrett

        @ Jim Walker.When Barrero went down I expected the Reds had a plan for him to work at other positions.Reds have 3 guys on the roster if you count Newman and you have to cause he is till there that play shortstop.I don’t see any plan at all so for me and he has the numbers it appears he would have to walk on water to make it back up this year.Krall has set the roster to have infielders and outfielders and not guys that can do both so that as well kind of leaves him out and joins Senzel as to whats next for them.Barrero may not have any options left but I don’t know.Roster crunch is coming in a big way.

  13. Pete

    Reds just announced Lodolo is being transferred to AA FROM ACL….

  14. old-school

    ITs going to be interesting to see how the Reds handle SP in September. After the WC road trip Abbott will be at about 135 innings which is 25 -ish more than his career high. Derek Johnson has said they are monitoring his workload and they will cross that bridge when they get there. I doubt the Reds hand him 6 starts and 30 more innings in September and go from 110 innings to 160 in one year.

    I could see Lodolo/Greene/Ashcraft and Williamson as the big 4 headed into a September playoff run. That still leaves them a starter short, which is why RLN commenters plea-ing for Weaver having made his last start could be premature. I think Weaver toes the rubber a few more times. Hope I am wrong on that.

  15. Laredo Slider

    A reminder that the Reds were 0-7 with Senzel starting post-whine and won 2 of 3 after he was demoted. Senzel has no value, truth be told he was probably offered pre-deadline and had no takers. Will he ever be recalled?

    • greenmtred

      Any other factors for that disparity, do you suppose? Or is it all down to Senzel?

      • wkuchad

        You know the answer to that GMR, but I like how diplomatic your questions are? 🙂

  16. Melvin

    If Antone helps any at all it will be a big bonus. Roster crunch time coming.