Reds focused on health, not Trade Deadline

Krall believes club 'can get better' with in-house returns; Bell on Twins ceremony

June 22nd, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- As the Reds opened play on Monday, the first four clubs in the National League Central standings were bunched together with only four games separating first from fourth.

With the July 30 Trade Deadline about five weeks away, the Cincinnati front office will soon be considering whether it will want to make additions to boost the team's chances. But there appears to be more anticipation about the return of players from within the club’s own ranks.

“Right now, we’ve got a lot of guys who are injured, both in Triple-A and the big leagues,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said. “We’re trying to get healthy first. Once we get healthy, we’ll figure out how to best go from there.”

Cincinnati is missing several players on the injured list -- including top reliever , top starting pitcher , third baseman , center fielder and reliever .

Antone could be back on Tuesday and Gray has a chance to return not long after. The others are targeting returns just after the All-Star break.

“These guys are impact players for our club. That’s going to tell us a lot about where we are,” Krall said.

The Reds could still have some needs even with injured players returning. Their bullpen -- ranked last in ERA in the Major Leagues entering Monday's series opener against the Twins at Target Field -- is a frequent club weakness in games.

“Over the next couple of weeks, we have a tough schedule. But we’ve got teams that we have to go out and compete against, especially in our division,” Krall said. “Those are the games that will tell us a lot about where we are in this division. We’ll make decisions after that.”

Among the teams the Reds play over the final 20 games before the All-Star break are the Cubs and Brewers.

“I think we can get better,” Krall said. “We’re going to get better just from getting guys back from injury. Then you assess where you are and what you need to do and go from there.”

Twins honor Mike Bell, family

Before Monday’s two-game Interleague series opener, the Twins honored the Bell family on cancer awareness night at Target Field. Reds manager David Bell’s brother, Twins bench coach Mike Bell, died of complications from kidney cancer at the age of 46 on March 26.

Several members of the Bell family took part, including David Bell and Mike’s wife and family. Mike’s wife, Kelly, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to David Bell.

“The Twins have been amazing,” David Bell said. “They have treated Mike and our family as family. They’ve been incredibly supportive. It’s a special night. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to. I think it’s part of the process for our family. It will be good to see some of the Twins people, who in a very short time, Mike became really close friends with, and I’ve already gotten to see a few people.”

Mike Bell played for the Reds in 2000 and was an executive and coach in Arizona’s player development system for 13 years. He joined Minnesota as manager Rocco Baldelli’s bench coach in 2020.

“Just like everything the Twins have done honoring Mike in such a thoughtful way, tonight is really incredible,” David Bell said. “For it to be part of cancer awareness night is really special. I’m sure a lot of good things will come from it. It really means a lot to us.”