CINCINNATI -- This was the kind of bet that Reds shortstop José Iglesias was happy to lose.
Before Monday’s 11-6 win over the Pirates, Iglesias told his teammates he would dye his hair a crazy color if he hit a home run in the game. Iglesias more than delivered because he slugged a grand slam during a 10-run second inning.
On Tuesday, Iglesias arrived at the clubhouse with purple hair. His barber did it for him after Monday’s game.
“It was late, and he missed a couple of spots,” Iglesias said. “Today it will be even better. We’re going to finish it up strong.”
Why purple? Why make the bet in the first place?
“I wanted to be different. They’re all blond,” Iglesias said. “It’s just keeping it fun, keep it loose, keep it interesting. It’s a long season. We’ve got to do little things to stay loose.”
When Iglesias’ drive to right-center field off reliever Montana DeRapau cleared the fence, it was his sixth homer of the season and his second grand slam. Iglesias was so into the moment that he briefly forgot about his deal.
“I was excited running the bases, but as soon I turned at third base, I saw Suarez and Puig just kind [rubbing their hair] and I was like, ‘that’s right, I lost a bet.’ That’s why I have purple today in my hair,” Iglesias said.
Iglesias wasn’t done with the bets, or expanding his color horizons.
“I’m going with a neon or yellow or something bright if I hit another home run [Tuesday],” he added.
In the fourth inning against Bucs starter Joe Musgrove, Iglesias hit a solo homer to left field.
Mahle out until at least mid-August
Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle, who has been on the 10-day injured list since July 22 because of a left hamstring strain, has started to show some progress.
“He had a good day [Monday],” manager David Bell said. “He was finally able to throw and run a little bit without pain,” Bell said. “It’s still tight, but all the days leading up to yesterday were not concerning, but just slower. Yesterday he took a step forward.”
That’s the good news. The bad news is Mahle isn’t expected to be back pitching for the Reds until mid-to-late August.
“Initially right when it happened, we thought he might be able to make his next start. Then it was maybe miss one,” Bell said. “It’s been a little slower than we thought.”
Mahle is 2-10 with a 4.93 ERA in 19 starts this season. Alex Wood returned from the IL on Sunday and he now occupies Mahle's rotation spot. When asked if Mahle would prepare to return as a starter, Bell held off, but he declared confidence in the right-hander.
“I think it’s too early. Now that it’s at least mid-August, I don’t think we need to figure that out yet,” Bell said. “There’s no question we like the progress he’s made. Not only do we like his upside, we like where he is right now. We know he can contribute as a starter. Every time he went out there as a starter, we felt great about it.
“The exciting thing too is there is room for improvement. There are things he can continue to get better at. I don’t think the results from a win-loss record -- it’s very deceptive about how we feel about him as a pitcher and what he did this year, and where he’s going to be as a pitcher.”
Hernandez to return
Expect a roster move to come on Wednesday. The Reds expect reliever David Hernandez to be activated from the IL. Hernandez has been out with right shoulder fatigue since July 18. He faced some Reds hitters in batting practice on Sunday.