MILWAUKEE -- Even though they knew he was still working his way back from a 2021 shoulder injury, the Reds wanted right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn to be part of the March trade that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez to the Mariners.
Dunn will finally get to make his Reds debut on Monday, when he will be called up from Triple-A Louisville to start against the Mets at Citi Field. It's not expected to be a one-time spot start as the Reds try to fill the voids left by the trades of Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle and an injury to rookie Hunter Greene.
"We’re hoping it’s the beginning of his being in the rotation for years. One step at a time, too," Reds manager David Bell said Sunday.
It will be Dunn's first start in the big leagues since June 17, 2021, for Seattle against the Rays.
Dunn, 26, completed a rehab assignment with High-A Dayton and Louisville, where he made six starts before being optioned on July 24. Overall at Louisville in seven starts, Dunn is 0-3 with a 6.92 ERA with 31 hits, 16 walks and 23 strikeouts over 26 innings.
"We’re excited to have him in the organization. We’re excited to see him pitch at the Major League level," Bell said. "That was the idea when we acquired him. It’s been tough. He was injured for a long time. He’s still pitching himself back into top form. We’re hoping at this point in the year that he’s ready to do that. I’m happy for him to get back to this level, being healthy and ready to go.”
Dunn was originally a first-round pick by the Mets in the 2016 MLB Draft but was traded to the Mariners in December 2018 -- along with former Red Jay Bruce, Jarred Kelenic and two other players -- for Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz.
Cincinnati acquired Dunn, outfielder Jake Fraley and prospects Brandon Williamson and Connor Phillips for Winker and Suárez on March 14 amid the club's effort to reduce payroll.