CINCINNATI -- A flurry of roster moves made by the Reds on Friday will alter the makeup of their bullpen for the near future.
Left-handed reliever Zach Duke was activated from the 10-day injured list after he missed nine games with a right calf strain. Duke took the spot of sixth starter Lucas Sims, who was optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Thursday to continue starting. In Sims’ lone start for the Reds upon being recalled, he threw 7 1/3 innings during Tuesday’s 11-8 win over the Pirates and established a season-high for the rotation.
Right-handed reliever Robert Stephenson was placed on the 10-day IL with a cervical strain in his neck. Following a strong beginning to 2019 with a 2.45 ERA in his first 12 appearances, Stephenson had a 6.10 ERA in nine games this month. He last pitched Tuesday, when he surrendered two runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Pirates.
“I don’t remember where we were, but he had this flare up on him, and it was bothering him when he was pitching a little bit,” manager David Bell said. “He was pulling the ball a little bit, but then it went away pretty quick. It just kind of re-occurred. We didn’t want to mess with it.
“The other thing is that even though it’s his neck, it’s so closely related with your shoulder. It’s easy to see how that could affect how you’re throwing the ball. I definitely don’t think it’s anything long term or anything like that. Hopefully it’s just 10 days.”
Taking Stephenson’s place is left-handed reliever Wandy Peralta, who was recalled from Louisville. Peralta had been sent down just on Tuesday to clear a roster spot for Sims.
With Peralta and Duke back in the fold, they join Amir Garrett to give Bell three lefties in the Reds' bullpen again.
“I think it’s a luxury. You don’t have to have three lefties,” Bell said. “Two is nice but three is even better. A lot of the teams we’re playing, with so many good left-handed hitters around the league that it’s nice to be back to three.”
This weekend, the Reds will be facing a Nationals lineup that features several lefty hitters that include Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, Matt Adams and Gerardo Parra from the bench.
Alaniz was up briefly with Seattle this season and posted a 20.25 ERA in four games. At Triple-A Tacoma, he was 2-1 with a 6.39 ERA.
Roark ready to lock eyes
When he makes his start on Saturday, it will be the first time that Reds pitcher Tanner Roark will face Washington since that club traded him to Cincinnati in December. Roark has been a boost to the Reds rotation while going 4-3 with a 3.20 ERA In 11 starts this season.
Will Roark make eye contact with his former teammates while they’re in the batter’s box?
“I’m going to. I usually don’t. But with guys I know, it’s going to be like backyard baseball with your friends,” Roark said. “It’s going to be weird seeing them, especially when I pitch against them. It’s going to be another game. It’s another series.”
During Thursday’s off-day, Roark socialized with his new teammates and passed up a chance to hang out with his old ones.
“We went to the Dierks Bentley concert last night and there was [Anthony] Rendon, [Stephen] Strasburg, [Brian] Dozier, and [Trea] Turner there. I saw them backstage, and we were in the crowd,” Roark said. “It was funny to see them there and be in the same place at the same time. It’s going to be strange.
“They were texting me. The lights were on big time and I could see them. They were telling me to come back there, I was like [waving them off with both hands]. We had [Tucker] Barnhart, [Kyle] Farmer, [Curt] Casali and our wives were there. These are my teammates now.”
Bell said that Wood is scheduled to throw in bullpen session by the end of next week, his first since suffering a setback with his back last month.
Infielder Alex Blandino, who has been rehabilitating from reconstructive surgery of his right knee since last year, has been playing in extended spring games. On Monday, Blandino is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Louisville.