CINCINNATI -- The already thin Reds bullpen was stretched even more on Saturday when its best reliever, Tejay Antone, went back on the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain. Lefty reliever Cionel Pérez was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take his spot in the 26-man roster.
Antone was just activated from the IL on Tuesday after missing 11 games with inflammation in the same forearm The club expects that he will be out at least through the All-Star break.
“It’s nothing any more serious,” Reds manager David Bell said. “But just because it’s the second time in a month and the All-Star break is coming up, that could factor in where you get four extra days there. Potentially, it could be longer than the two weeks it was last time. It could be slightly longer. I don’t anticipate it being much longer than that. There is no question that it’s something he can come back from.”
Antone did not fare well in his two games this week. On Tuesday at Minnesota, the right-hander let two inherited runners score on a double in the eighth inning for a blown save, but was credited with the win in a 10-7 victory.
During Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Braves, Antone entered in the eighth inning and saw five-straight batters reach with one out -- including an Ozzie Albies home run. His final line that game was one inning, three hits and two runs (one earned).
In 22 appearances this season, Antone is 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and three saves.
Antone's setback comes as Cincinnati just put its second-best reliever -- right-hander Lucas Sims -- on the 10-day IL Thursday because of a right elbow sprain.
The Reds bullpen entered play Saturday with a Major League-worst 5.61 ERA this season and the second-most walks allowed.
Without Antone and Sims, the later innings will likely fall to some combination of Amir Garrett, Heath Hembree, Brad Brach, Art Warren and Ryan Hendrix.
Senzel discusses long wait for return
Speaking to reporters on Saturday for the first time since August of the 2020 season, injured Reds center fielder Nick Senzel recalled his surprise when he learned in May that he would need left knee surgery. Senzel, who was dealing with a couple of other nagging injuries besides his knee, thought at the time that he would be close to returning to the field.
“I was playing through some pain, no doubt about it,” Senzel said. “I was just trying to get through the first game and see if I could get it taken care of and maybe miss a couple games. It’s led to a longer absence than I obviously would have liked. I don’t enjoy being here and rehabbing every day. I’d like to be playing. You feel like you’re kicking it, you’re kicking it and you’re kicking it and then bad luck seems to follow. Going through a lot of these, I’ve gotten used to being more positive.”
The Reds placed Senzel on the IL May 21 and he had arthroscopic surgery to clean out damaged cartilage on the undersurface of the patella a few days later.
“I got a cortisone shot and figured we’d just let it calm down and then I’d rehab a little bit. It just wasn’t getting any better,” said Senzel, who has since moved to the 60-day IL. “It’s more of a bone issue too, like my elbow. I had to clean some stuff out, so a cortisone shot didn’t even help alleviate the pain. It was one of those things where I just had to get it taken care of. I was just going to be out there hobbling. I wanted to play so bad because I’ve had baseball taken away from me the last couple of years. I guess I could play through it. But was it worth going out there and being 30 percent of me?”
Manager David Bell said on Friday that the club is hoping to have Senzel back by the end of July.
Injuries have marred Senzel’s promising career since he’s been in the Major Leagues. The most significant was a torn labrum in his right shoulder that forced him to miss the final 23 games of his rookie season in 2019. Senzel also missed 27 games on the injured list last year.
Senzel, 25, has been doing some light baseball work on the field the last few days. He’s still not completely pain-free.
“It’s taking longer than I thought,” said Senzel, who was the second overall pick in the 2016 Draft. “I really can’t do much, I only do what they tell me to do. We’ve been through all this before.”