CINCINNATI -- Since Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle went on the 10-day injured list July 18 with a left hamstring strain, much has changed with the club’s rotation.
First, Alex Wood returned from missing four months with a back injury. Then, the Reds acquired Trevor Bauer in a blockbuster three-team trade that sent Yasiel Puig to Cleveland. Aware there isn’t a spot for him to start, Mahle is prepared to work from the bullpen when he comes back.
“We’ve definitely talked about that,” Mahle said on Sunday. “I’ve talked about it with multiple [innings] if they wanted me to do that. I wouldn’t care as long as I’m here. I’m grateful that I’m here, whether I’m in the bullpen or if I’m starting. And our starting staff is doing really well right now, so there’s no reason to change that.”
Mahle is close to returning. On Saturday, he tested his hamstring by running the bases. On Sunday morning, he faced Reds hitters in live batting practice and threw 20 pitches. On Tuesday, he will throw in a bullpen session at Triple-A Louisville, and a rehab assignment there is expected to be next.
“I’m doing a bunch of stuff to get ready,” Mahle said. “I just threw a live BP and that went pretty well.”
Setback for Casali
During the second game of what was expected to be a three-game rehab assignment for Louisville at Rochester, Reds catcher Curt Casali prematurely exited from Saturday’s game after playing five innings as the designated hitter.
“He removed himself from the game last night,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He had a little bit of [left] hamstring thing. It tightened up on him. He wanted to get out the game before it got worse. He’s going to be here today.”
Casali caught five innings on Friday without issue. He has been on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain since July 18. The Reds had hoped Casali could join the team during the next series at Washington.
“It could set him back a few days. The knee’s good,” Bell said.
Right-handed reliever Jared Hughes finished serving his three-game suspension Saturday for plunking a batter as part of an ugly night against the Pirates on July 30. During one of the games, Hughes went home to put his kids the bed and returned to Great American Ball Park to watch the end of a game among the fans in the seats behind the Reds dugout.
“The second game he made to the line to congratulate everybody [after the win],” Bell said. “Pretty impressive.”