CINCINNATI -- Injuries forced the Reds to make a slew of transactions that affect their bullpen, bench and catching situation ahead of Thursday’s series opener vs. the Cardinals.
In the corresponding moves, utility player Josh VanMeter and right-handed pitcher Lucas Sims were recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway was signed to a one-year big league contract and right-handed pitcher Jesus Reyes was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Over his past eight appearances, Hernandez has struggled mightily with a 29.08 ERA after he allowed 14 earned runs, 15 hits and five walks. It raised his overall ERA from 4.15 on June 22 to its current mark of 6.92 in 43 games. He pitched one-third of an inning during Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Cubs and allowed two earned runs and two hits.
“We gave him three days [off] and were really hoping that would get him over any hump of how he was feeling,” Reds manager David Bell said. “At that point, there was no talk of an injury, but there was something where the ball wasn’t coming out quite right. We were hoping the three days would make the difference. A lot of times, it would. But after yesterday [when he was] feeling the same way after three days off, it became clear we had to take a bigger step back and get him back to who he is. It just hasn’t been there the last few weeks, that’s for sure.”
Sims was 5-0 with a 4.56 ERA in 16 starts for Louisville but will be used out of the bullpen for the Reds. He did start a big league game this season and pitched 7 1/3 innings with four earned runs in an 11-6 win over the Pirates on May 28.
“He’s going to go in our bullpen and remain an option for us as a starter if need be. Right now, we have to do what it takes to have our best team and win games,” Bell said. “Lucas being in the bullpen is part of our best team. Who knows what happens in the future with Lucas, but right now, we need him to pitch. I told him to be ready for any situation.”
Injured lefties update
Reds lefty reliever Amir Garrett (left lat strain) is scheduled pitch in a rehab assignment game for Louisville on Friday. Garrett threw 20 pitches to hitters in live batting practice on Wednesday at Wrigley Field without issue.
Bell expected Garrett to be ready for activation from the 10-day IL on Sunday.
Starter Alex Wood (lower back spasms) made his third rehab start for Louisville on Wednesday. Against Pawtucket, Wood worked two scoreless innings with two hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
“There were really good reports on not only how he felt but how he pitched,” Bell said. “It was a shortened outing because of the rain. He finished it in the batting cage. He got up to 70 pitches. From a pitching standpoint, he continues to get sharper each time out.”
Wood will get at least one more rehab start with Louisville.
Senzel expected to be OK
Reds rookie center fielder Nick Senzel is listed as day to day with right hamstring tightness. Senzel exited after he limped while scoring on a hit during the eighth inning Wednesday.
An MRI exam on Thursday showed Senzel’s injury was mild.
“Nick, it might be a day or two,” Bell said. “Not an IL, but we’ll certainly be cautious with him. They’re going to put him through some activity and see what his availability is for [Thursday and Friday].”