Antone injured in first game back from IL

August 25th, 2021

MILWAUKEE – Activated after he missed 52 games with a right forearm strain, Reds reliever was excited on Tuesday afternoon to rejoin a club in the middle of a pennant race.

Antone’s return to action lasted only five pitches, however. In a disastrous turn of events during the eighth inning of a 7-4 loss to the Brewers, he grabbed his arm in pain and left the game.

“I don’t know what happened. I just know that he was hurting,” Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said. “He bent over there and called for the trainer and I went out there too. Just a guy that has worked so hard to get back. He’s obviously been through some arm injuries in the past.

“It’s tough to see anybody, one of your friends or brothers or teammates, get hurt. I hope it’s less serious than it looked, but we’re all thinking about it and we’re all hoping for good news.”

It was a 2-2 curveball to Rowdy Tellez for a ball that caused Antone pain.

“I spoke with Tejay. He definitely felt something in his elbow,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Obviously, very concerning. I don’t even know if he’s had a full exam yet. He was upset. He worked so hard to get back.”

Antone made seven rehab assignment appearances for Triple-A Louisville. Over 6 2/3 innings, he allowed two earned runs, four hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts. Most important, he had no setbacks with his arm.

In 22 games before the injury, Antone was 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings.

Antone also missed 11 games on the IL with inflammation in his forearm from June 11-21. He appeared in two games before going back on the IL with the forearm strain.

In April of 2017, while in the Minors, Antone had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

“You never want to lose a teammate like that, so seeing Tejay going through what he's going through. This game, yeah, it was important. But that sucks, you never want to see that happen,” reliever Michael Lorenzen said. “We're here for Tejay. We're all to support him and help him get through whatever he needs to get through.”

Doolittle designated for assignment

Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle was designated for assignment to clear a 26-man roster spot. The 40-man roster has 37 players.

Signed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract by the Reds on Feb. 8, Doolittle had a 4.46 ERA and 1.51 WHIP over 45 appearances this season. The lefty often struggled, but had shown some improvement and increased velocity in recent weeks. But he was limited to mostly low-leverage situations and hasn’t pitched since Wednesday.

“He got off to maybe a slow start. He made some nice adjustments,” Bell said before Tuesday’s game. “There just wasn’t enough work, really. It was tough. It was tough losing Doo. Just an incredible professional. He was disappointed. He also knows he’s going to get another opportunity and I know that too, but it’s tough leaving this team.”

Vote of confidence for Santillan

The only pitcher currently in the Reds bullpen with Minor League options is Tony Santillan, who is in his third stint with the big league club after he was recalled on Aug. 17. But Santillan has pitched in three scoreless and hitless appearances since his latest recall and is getting used in bigger situations. He was also impressive during July in his previous stint.

The Reds could have sent Santillan down and brought him back when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Not doing that was effectively a vote of confidence for the right-hander.

“He’s made the most of his opportunities. He’s proven he can pitch here,” Bell said. “The last time he went out, he understood it and everything, but he was pitching really well. To his credit, he knew and knows he belongs here. He went down and continued to pitch well in Triple-A. Since he’s been back, his stuff looks great. His approach to the role looks great. I have a lot of confidence in him. It’s going to continue to grow as far as how he’s used.”

Naquin pleased to be healthy, producing

A first-time winner of the National League’s Player of the Week Award on Monday, Reds outfielder Tyler Naquin was pleased with the honor and that he’s one of the team’s hottest hitters. But for someone who hadn’t played more than 100 games since his rookie year in 2016 with Cleveland because of injuries, Naquin was thrilled to be healthy and playing late into the season.

“You have to stay between the lines, and the rest will take care of itself. Every play does kind of like this [making wavy hand movements] during the season, but you can’t even do this if you’re not in between the lines,” said Naquin, who batted .500 (13-for-26) with four homers, a triple, three doubles and a 1.706 OPS in seven games last week. “This game is ruthless, man. It’ll bury you. It’ll make you doubt yourself a lot, and sometimes you’re the only one that believes in your own self, or maybe a couple family members, and you just got to keep rolling, man.

“That’s all there is to it. It’s been a road, but I’m stoked to be here. From top to bottom, these guys, this organization has treated me like gold.”