Notes: Struggling Hembree designated

August 17th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- A month ago, reliever was the Reds’ de facto closer, and he is still the team's saves leader with eight. On Tuesday, following extended struggles, Hembree was designated for assignment by Cincinnati.

Reliever was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.

“He gave us everything he had. He did a great job,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We put a lot on him. He stepped up in a time of need for us in the bullpen, took on basically any role that I threw at him.”

Hembree allowed a run in seven of his past nine appearances -- totaling 13 earned runs over his past seven innings. During Monday’s 14-5 win over the Cubs, he took over in the eighth inning with a 12-0 lead and gave up five runs on five hits while recording only two outs.

In 45 appearances overall, Hembree was 2-7 with a 6.38 ERA. But in July, while the club was without Tejay Antone, Lucas Sims and Michael Lorenzen because of injuries, he recorded five consecutive save chances.

“He did a nice job for us. He gave absolutely everything -- everything -- he had.” Bell said. “Great character. Incredible teammate. He’s going to be really missed on this team. Wish him the best.”

As Hembree hit the wall recently, his role dropped from the ninth inning to often the sixth or seventh innings. That role will now belong to Santillan, who has recorded six straight scoreless appearances for Louisville since he was optioned on July 30. This will be the rookie right-hander’s third stint with the big league club this season.

“The reports have all been good. Right before he got sent down, I felt like he was settling into that role out of the bullpen,” Bell said. “His personality, his makeup, we believe is going to be a great fit out of the bullpen. Not that he won’t go back to starting, but for the time being, he’s really settled in. He got a lot more experience over the last couple of weeks when he was there coming in the middle of innings.”

During his previous callup, Santillan retired the first batter in five of six appearances and stranded all five of his inherited runners.

“He continued that transition and he’s been throwing the ball really well,” Bell said. “I am excited to get Tony back. He’s going to get an opportunity to pitch. The big thing with Tony is he’s not afraid of anything. He’ll be ready for anything we ask him to do.”

India showing his power

As part of his career-best five-RBI night on Monday, Reds rookie second baseman slugged a two-run home run in the fourth inning. India has 16 homers overall, with 10 of them coming since the All-Star break. That’s tied for fourth most in the Major Leagues.

A leading National League Rookie of the Year candidate, India entered Tuesday batting .283/.396/.476 with 55 RBIs and 73 runs. He’s scored 57 runs since moving into the leadoff spot on June 5.

“I’ve been impressed by all parts of Jonathan’s game, like we all have,” Bell said. “But I did know he had power. And I actually did see it in both Spring Trainings that he’s been with us. So it’s been impressive for sure.

“Everything about Jonathan’s makeup … that part has probably impressed me more than anything. The power has been there too, and in his first year for that to come out like that alongside all these other parts of his game, the whole thing has been very impressive.”