MILWAUKEE – For the third time in 2021, Reds pitcher Sonny Gray was placed on the 10-day injured list on Thursday. Gray has a right rib cage strain, but unlike his previous two IL stints for back and groin injuries, there is optimism that the right-hander will not miss a start.
Because Gray pitched on Wednesday vs. the Royals and with the All-Star break next week, he can return as soon as July 18 to face the Brewers -- the final game of the three-game set at Great American Ball Park -- without missing a turn in the rotation.
“Where I sit right now, when my turn comes available, I feel like I’ll be able to play,” Gray said Thursday before departing for Cincinnati.
During Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Kansas City, Gray pitched seven innings with two earned runs, seven hits and two walks allowed while striking out seven. After he labored through his first four innings, he retired his final 10 batters in a row.
“I felt it was something I was managing yesterday throughout the game, and we’ve got some time now to our advantage,” he said. “It’s something I need to take advantage of. That’s it really.”
Over 12 starts this season, Gray is 2-4 with a 3.19 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 62 innings.
“He was able to pitch through it. I do think it’s smart to get it evaluated and take at least the 10 days between yesterday and his next start,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Hopefully, that’s all it is. Hopefully, it’s exactly 10 days. Actually, that’s kind of what I’m planning for after the break unless we get a different report here.”
Gray expected to begin his rehab at Beacon Orthopedic in suburban Cincinnati on Friday.
“From there, we’ll probably not throw for three days, two days. I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Gray said. “I will go to Beacon and get poked and prodded on a little bit and work out probably at some point tomorrow. Probably play catch on Saturday and Sunday, go home for the break and then I don’t know what I’ll do.”
Gray’s spot on the 26-man roster was taken by right-handed pitcher Tony Santillan, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Santillan will give the Reds an extra bullpen arm heading into the All-Star break.
In four starts with the Reds during his earlier stint from June 13-29, Santillan was 1-2 with a 3.78 ERA. He was sent to Louisville to begin a switch to a bullpen role but only got to make one relief appearance there on July 4 with a scoreless inning.
“Ideally, he would have a little bit more time to do that, but he’s also still built up from being a starter,” Bell said. “He’s going to be fine. We’ll use him in a way that he could provide innings potentially this weekend and go from there. That was kind of the idea was to get him back as a reliever and it happened a little bit quicker than we thought.”
Club revises Lorenzen plan
Reliever Michael Lorenzen, who is on the 60-day IL with a right shoulder strain, will not rejoin the club this weekend during the Brewers series, as expected earlier this week. Lorenzen, who is scheduled to pitch in another rehab assignment outing for Louisville on Thursday and some more appearances there next week.
“In the interest of Michael, our team, our entire season, we’ll probably let him stay in Louisville over the break,” Bell said. “Get some back-to-back outings in, so that when he comes back next Friday there are no limitations on how we’d use him. If he was to come back Saturday, we’d be potentially trading one inning and giving up those All-Star break days where he could actually get fully built up. I think in the long run, I think we’ll all be better off there, including Michael.”