Suarez dodges serious injury, eyes quick return

Alaniz joins relief corps as Bowman sent back to Triple-A Louisville

August 18th, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Last April, Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez broke his right thumb when he was hit by a pitch. On Friday vs. the Cardinals, Suarez thought he broke his left thumb when colliding with Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler while trying to catch a throw from center field in the sixth inning of a 13-4 loss.

“When I broke my thumb last year, it was different than this one,” Suarez said Saturday. “This one, I just thought my thumb was broken right away because I felt something right away. After I moved around and after the doctors checked, everything was good.”

After X-rays were taken, Suarez was diagnosed with a left thumb sprain. He was not in the starting lineup vs. St. Louis on Saturday, as Jose Peraza filled in at third base. Suarez leads the club with 33 home runs this season.

“The good news, it’s not going to be a long-term thing,” Reds manager David Bell said.

When Tommy Edman hit a one-out RBI single to center field in the sixth that had Fowler hustling from first to third base, Suarez attempted to catch an errant throw from center fielder Nick Senzel that went into the third-base camera well. Suarez banged into Fowler as a result.

“It feels better. Just a little bit sore in the area,” Suarez said. “I got jammed with Fowler’s body. I tried to catch a ball and he hit me with his body. Nothing bad. … I’m going to see what happens today after I do my routines; try to catch ground balls, hit, and see how it feels for [Sunday].”

Votto and Winker still out

The lower back tightness for first baseman Joey Votto and upper back tightness for outfielder Jesse Winker kept both players out of the lineup again Saturday. For Votto, it marked a third straight game that he’s been unable to start. Winker hasn’t started for three games also, but his absence the first game was so that Phillip Ervin could play.

Bell felt Winker could be available off the bench, but seemed less confident about Votto. Both players have continued to receive treatment. Could Votto be a candidate for the 10-day injured list?

“I think if he goes a couple of more days, we’ll have to consider it,” Bell said. “For right now, we’re just focused on getting him back out. Not starting today, but maybe by tomorrow or Monday. If it’s beyond that, I think it becomes a question.”

Alaniz called up, Bowman sent down

The Reds optioned reliever Matt Bowman to Triple-A Louisville on Saturday and recalled right-handed reliever R.J. Alaniz from Louisville. Bowman gave up four runs (three earned) and six hits over 1 2/3 innings during Friday’s loss.

Alaniz, 28, was claimed off waivers from the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate at Tacoma on May 31 after he posted a 6.39 ERA in 10 games. He made his Reds debut during Saturday's 6-1 win over the Cardinals, tossing a scoreless ninth inning, with one strikeout.

Since joining Louisville, Alaniz has a 2.93 ERA, with 25 hits and 11 walks allowed, along with 31 strikeouts over 27 2/3 innings in 25 games.

“For the most part, I was staying consistent with my delivery and throwing strikes,” Alaniz said. “I let them hit the ball and good things happened.”

The experience of his first callup with Seattle this season helped Alaniz learn from his mistakes, mainly by just remaining calm on the mound.

“I would say it was a lot more nerve-racking when it happened in early April,” Alaniz said. “I was not ready, but who is ready for the Major Leagues? You just have to go out there and see what you have that day. I was definitely excited.”

Alaniz has previously pitched for several organizations, including the Astros, Tigers, Rays and Mariners.

“It’s definitely been a wild ride,” he said. “I did 10 years in the Minors before I even was going up to Seattle. It’s been up and down, and the main thing, I’m trying to stay consistent. If I can do that, everything should be fine.”

Mahle shakes off rust

In his first rehab assignment start for Louisville on Friday, Tyler Mahle pitched 1 1/3 innings with three runs, three hits and one walk allowed, while striking out two, throwing 37 pitches. Mahle has been on the 10-day IL since July 22 (retroactive to July 20) with a left hamstring strain.

“I felt good, but I was kind of rusty. I think that first one was to shake off the rust,” Mahle said. “I threw everything. Because I was only going two innings, I made sure of that right away. I was kind of throwing everything.”

Mahle said that he and the Reds are tentatively targeting him to return to start one of the two games during an Aug. 31 doubleheader vs. the Cardinals.