CINCINNATI -- The Reds got one reliever back from the disabled list on Wednesday but lost two more bullpen assets to injury -- including a big one in closer Raisel Iglesias. That will force interim manager Jim Riggleman to choose his closer for each game based on matchups.Iglesias was placed
CINCINNATI -- The Reds got one reliever back from the disabled list on Wednesday but lost two more bullpen assets to injury -- including a big one in closer Raisel Iglesias. That will force interim manager Jim Riggleman to choose his closer for each game based on matchups.
Iglesias was placed on the 10-day DL due to a strained left biceps in his non-pitching arm. Right-hander Austin Brice also went on the DL with a mid-back strain. Both stints are retroactive to Sunday. To replace them, Michael Lorenzen was activated from the DL and Tanner Rainey was recalled from Triple-A Louisville.
"Iglesias' left biceps has been bothering him for some days," Riggleman said. "It's just tender, and he feels like it's really affecting him. As he extends out with his front arm to deliver the pitch, he's a little tentative. Rather than continue to deal with it, we're just going to DL him and bring Rainey in."
On May 9 vs. the Mets, Iglesias had to reach high to catch a ball and appeared to be in discomfort coming off the field. It didn't appear to affect him on the mound until Saturday, when he blew his second save (in 10 tries) in Game 1 of a doubleheader vs. the Cubs. A scoreless streak of 9 1/3 innings over 10 appearances for Iglesias ended when he gave up two earned runs and three hits, including a solo homer by Ian Happ to lead off the eighth inning.
In 20 appearances, Iglesias has a 2.08 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and eight saves. Riggleman noted that Jared Hughes, Amir Garrett, Wandy Peralta and Lorenzen are all closer options until Iglesias returns. David Hernandez is also a former closer.
Brice has a 4.68 ERA over 25 innings across 21 games. Following a stretch in which he was quite effective, he has given up a run in four of his last five appearances.
"He's pitched through it and got a lot of treatment," Riggleman said. "He's pitched effectively, but it's lingering. That's basically the way we made room for Mike."
Lorenzen, who worked around a hit and a walk to pitch a scoreless inning in the Reds' extra-inning loss Wednesday, had been out since mid-March with a strained teres major muscle near his right shoulder. He completed a rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Pensacola after he worked four scoreless innings over three outings.
Rainey gave up seven earned runs over two innings in two outings for the Reds earlier this season. With Louisville, he has a 2.04 ERA in 17 2/3 innings over 14 games. He pitched well in his return to the bigs, striking out three in two scoreless innings Wednesday.
"We can't go in there with people -- maybe they can go, maybe they can't -- and if they do go, they have to be very limited. We need to have a full crew of people in there," Riggleman said
Hughes loves ground balls
Signed to a two-year contract in the offseason, Hughes has been a strong addition for the Reds' bullpen. He entered Wednesday tied for third in the National League with five double plays induced. According to FanGraphs, he's 11th in the NL with a 58.6 percent ground-ball rate.
Hughes is able to induce grounders often because he has an effective sinker that he throws 73 percent of the time, according to Statcast™.
"In my dream world, I would come in and throw three pitches and get three ground balls every inning," said Hughes, who entered with a 1.30 ERA in 23 appearances. "I'm trying to get ahead in the count and keep the ball on the ground. I trust the defense. Without them, I'm nothing."
Hughes has picked up ground-ball double plays in each of his last three appearances. Finishing Tuesday's 7-2 win with six pitches over one scoreless inning, he replaced Peralta after a leadoff single in the ninth. Hughes got pinch-hitter Jose Osuna to smoke a grounder to shortstop Jose Peraza for a 6-4-3 double play. Osuna's ball had a 100.1 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™.
Hughes makes use of the Statcast™ metrics available to all players and has an idea where hitters are going to hit grounders against his sinker. That helps him form a plan going into the at-bat.
"I try to memorize all of it. Execution is the key," he said. "It's way easier to know where to throw it than to actually throw it there. I try to memorize everything -- exit velocity, ground-ball rates -- so when I am out there, it's a language I don't have to think about. I just kind of speak it."
Hughes got two more groundouts while pitching a scoreless ninth in a tie game Wednesday night.
DeSclafani pitching at Louisville on Friday
Starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (strained left oblique) was in the Reds' clubhouse Wednesday after returning from two rehab starts in Pensacola. He will next pitch on Friday at Louisville. In his Sunday start for Pensacola, he threw 76 pitches over five innings.
"It's going well," DeSclafani said. "I was very encouraged by my last outing. It is probably the best I have felt in a while. The ball is coming out of my hand really well, and I was throwing strikes."
DeSclafani is eligible to be activated from the 60-day DL on Monday but could get another rehab start after Friday.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.