Notes: Castellanos back; Moustakas close

August 6th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- hated sitting out for more than two weeks while injured. But the Reds’ right fielder and the team’s leading hitter got the good news he wanted on Thursday when he was activated from the 10-day injured list.

Castellanos was hit on the wrist by a pitch on July 16 vs. the Brewers and although initial X-rays showed no broken bones, he was diagnosed with a microfracture via CT scan on July 21 and went on the IL two days later.

“It’s not fun, it’s different,” Castellanos said of being out. “I learned a lot about myself. It’s the first time I’ve gone through something like this in my career. Things like this happen, and I’m just excited to be playing.”

In his first game back, a 7-4 Reds victory over the Pirates, Castellanos went 0-for-3 but reached on a walk from Wil Crowe in the first inning.

Since taking batting practice on the field on Sunday at Citi Field in New York, Castellanos has progressed quickly. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he took BP with coach J.R. House pitching at speeds that simulated game action.

“He challenges me,” Castellanos said. “Pitches in close, throws hard and knows pitches. He finds joy in getting me out. I like that. It’s been a huge help.”

The Reds were deliberate about not rushing Castellanos back, however. Even though he is healed, the injury will have to be managed going forward.

“He’s still going to have to deal with it. He’s had an injury. It was significant,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I think by taking an extra day or two, it gives him his best chance to pick up where he left off. It hasn’t been too long of a break, so his timing is still there. He’s been working really hard simulating game action. My big concern was just compensating or doing anything different with his swing. I think by taking the extra couple days, it gives us our best chance to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“It’s great to have him back. Clearly, he’s a big part of our lineup, a big part of our team.”

Castellanos, 29, entered the night leading the National League in hitting with a .329 average, and he had 18 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .965 OPS.

Cincinnati still managed to go 8-4 while Castellanos was on the IL and scored five or more runs in 11 of the past 12 games.

“To me that’s always a great sign of a team,” Bell said. “I’ve personally been part of teams that lost great players for a short period of time, or even a long period of time, and guys end up getting better. You’re almost forced to get better as a team. But it only works if the character of your players and what you have as a team is such that it responds that way. I think our team definitely responded the right way to that.”

Moustakas returns from rehab assignment
Reds third baseman could soon be following Castellanos to being activated. Moustakas, who has been out since mid-May with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, was brought back to Cincinnati from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville and was on the field taking grounders at Great American Ball Park on Thursday.

In four games with Louisville, Moustakas batted .357 (5-for-14) with one homer. He also showed the foot could handle standing for hours at his position and make quick reactions to plays -- defensively and offensively.

“We want to make sure that the transition back [to] playing a lot, that he continues to recover properly,” Bell said. “If everything goes well, it could be in the next day or two.”

Bell declined to detail how Moustakas’ return would affect others on the club. It would appear that Eugenio Suárez, who has struggled all season, could move to a reduced or part-time role.

Lorenzen notches first save of 2021
When Reds reliever notched the final five outs of Wednesday’s 6-5 win over the Twins, he recorded his first save since Sept. 29, 2019, vs. the Pirates.

Lorenzen entered in the eighth inning after the bullpen faltered ahead of him. After giving up a double, he escaped with runners stuck on second and third base. In the ninth, he gave up a single but ended the game with a double play.

“Not too many guys can do what he did. He had to work hard in the eighth there,” Bell said. “It wasn’t easy, so to be able to get the final five outs of the game in the way he did it, it just says so much about who he is and just his talent and the way he competes and the way he believes in himself. It’s really what separates him.”

Lorenzen missed the first 90 games of the season with a right shoulder injury. He strained his right hamstring running the bases on July 17, his first game back, and returned to the IL.

“It's fun to be able to do it,” Lorenzen said. “I've had a lot of time, obviously, to visualize and think about doing it. It's fun to actually be able to do it now.”

In four scoreless appearances since his latest return, Lorenzen retired 13 of 15 batters. Bell checked with Lorenzen to make sure he could take on the ninth inning after a stressful eighth.

“I felt like I was pretty pitch-efficient,” Lorenzen said. “I've been recovering pretty well too throughout my outings. I told him I feel great and he said, 'Are you good for another?' I said, 'Absolutely.' That was basically it.”