Antone to have Tommy John surgery

RHP exited after just five pitches in return from IL on Tuesday

August 26th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- Reds reliever tweeted on Thursday that he will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on Friday.

"Not how I imagined my season ending," Antone tweeted. "I will be undergoing my second Tommy John surgery tomorrow. I have full trust in Dr. [Tim] Kremchek and his team to get me back even better this time. Life is bigger than one person’s career. My hope through this whole thing is to inspire others."

Antone, who just returned from the injured list on Tuesday after he missed 52 games with a right forearm strain, threw only five pitches during the eighth inning of the Reds' 7-4 loss to the Brewers. A 2-2 curveball to Rowdy Tellez missed for a ball and left Antone wincing, summoning for the trainer before exiting.

When the right-hander was activated, there was no indication that he was in danger of suffering another injury. He made seven rehab assignment appearances for Triple-A Louisville ahead of being brought back to the big leagues.

“[Antone] walked me through the last week, almost,” manager David Bell said. “He was replaying it all in his head. He had a back-to-back [outings] in Triple-A, after that he knew he was ready. He said he felt great. The last outing, he ended up pitching on Sunday, he felt great.”

But not all was right during the Tellez matchup.

“He said he felt a little tightness when he was warming up,” Bell said. “He didn’t think anything of it. Then he felt a little something on the pitch before, but he was in compete mode. And then the next pitch is when he felt it.”

This will be the second Tommy John surgery for Antone to repair his right elbow. He had the procedure performed on his elbow in 2017, missing an entire season at the High-A level.

“Tejay is as strong, physically strong, but also as strong as a person of anyone that I’ve been around in this game,” Bell said. “I’m definitely confident he’ll have all kinds of support, everything he needs to get through this.”

Back to a five-man bench
In the corresponding roster move for Antone’s latest IL stint, the Reds recalled infielder Max Schrock for his fourth big league stint in 2021. The move returned the Reds to having eight relievers and a five-man bench.

“We’ve had nine relievers for some time now with good reason,” Bell said. “It’s really served us, there has definitely been a reason for it. We’re in good shape coming out of an off-day. We have a stretch of nine games now until our next one. It doesn’t mean we can’t adjust that and go to a different plan. With the importance on each day right now, this was the decision for the time being. If we need to adjust, we will.”

Reds farm system gaining respect
In the latest player development system rankings by MLB Pipeline released on Wednesday, the Reds organization took a big leap. Cincinnati’s farm system was ranked No. 10 after it entered the year at No. 20.

The Reds received praise for having four players among the Top 100 prospects overall, led by right-hander Hunter Greene (the No. 27 overall prospect in baseball).

They also have seven players taken in the 2021 MLB Draft already listed among the organization’s Top 30 prospects.