CINCINNATI -- It’s been a tough September for Wade Miley, and now the Reds' veteran left-handed starting pitcher won’t get to end what’s been a strong year on a positive note.
Miley was placed on the 10-day injured list with a neck strain Saturday -- retroactive to Wednesday. The injury effectively ended Miley’s season with only seven games remaining after Saturday, and it could be his final start for the club since he’s in the last year of a two-year, $15 million contract.
“It's been bothering me for the last couple of weeks. It's been kind of slowly, gradually getting worse,” Miley said. “Just every start, I wasn't recovering, wasn't bouncing back.”
Miley, 34, last pitched on Sept. 19 vs. the Dodgers and gave up six earned runs and nine hits -- including three homers -- over only three innings. It was revealed publicly a couple of days after the start that his neck had been bothering him.
Initially scheduled to start Friday vs. the Nationals, Miley was pushed back to start Monday's makeup game vs. the Pirates. But his most recent side bullpen session made it clear that the issue hadn’t improved.
“I've been resting the last couple of days and I felt really good yesterday going into my bullpen. Within 10 pitches, it came right back,” Miley said. “The same feel I had been getting came back. We just made a decision to shut it down. It sucks. I set a goal in Spring Training; I wanted to make 30 starts. I feel like if I made 30 starts, that would be a really good number for me and I'm falling two short. That sucks.”
In 28 starts for Cincinnati this season, Miley was 12-7 with a 3.37 ERA. His year featured the first no-hitter of his career on May 7 at Cleveland. But as the Reds faded down the stretch, so too did Miley. Over his four September starts, he was 1-3 with an 8.35 ERA. Seven of the 17 homers he allowed this season came during the month.
It’s still possible that Miley could return in 2022. The Reds have a $10 million club option for next season that carries a $1 million buyout.
“I talked to my family, talked to my wife. Obviously, it’s a business. I’ve been on seven different teams, so I understand how this works. But we love it here,” Miley said. “We absolutely love it in Cincinnati. I feel like Cincinnati, they made this place feel like home. We have a home here.
“I would love nothing more than to be a part of this team until I’m done, whenever that may be.”
Lefty reliever Cionel Pérez was called from Triple-A Louisville to take Miley’s spot on the active roster. But the Reds will still need a starter to take his place Monday. The leading candidate appears to be left-hander Reiver Sanmartin.
Over 25 games combined this season for Louisville and Double-A Chattanooga -- including 17 starts -- Sanmartin is 10-2 with a 3.32 ERA.
Schrock stays alive, homers
During the Reds’ 8-7 win in 11 innings over the Nationals on Friday, the at-bat of the night came in the bottom of the third inning with two outs. As Cincinnati trailed, 4-0, left fielder Max Schrock dueled Washington pitcher Paolo Espino for 10 pitches. It included five consecutive foul balls hit to the left side. On each foul, TJ Friedl was running from first base on the pitch and was forced to return.
On the 10th pitch, Schrock turned on an 88.1 mph fastball from Espino and drove it to right field for a two-run home run.
“Obviously, when you’re grinding with two strikes for a little while, it’s nice to be rewarded with a hit. The homer was a little bit of an extra bonus,” Schrock said Saturday. “I was trying to do what I always do with two strikes -- stay short and just put a barrel on it however I can. I was fortunate that it left the ballpark last night.”
As the plate appearance went on, Schrock could hear teammates in the Reds' dugout getting fired up.
“When you hear guys in the dugout, you definitely try to feed off of it,” Schrock said. “Personally, I was trying to relax a little bit more as the at-bat went on. I tried to stay comfortable. I think that’s the way you succeed with two strikes, by being as comfortable as you can.”
Since his latest recall from Louisville on Aug. 25, Schrock is batting .314 (16-for-51) in 24 games -- including 13 starts, all at a new position for him in left field. He came into play Saturday batting .313/.359/.500 with three homers in 46 games overall this season.
“This last month has been exciting,” Schrock said. “It’s been great getting run out there, getting a bunch of starts, getting a few at-bats. Hopefully it creates some confidence going into next season.”