Gray goes on IL, avoids prolonged setback

June 9th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- In a blow to their rotation, the Reds put starting pitcher on the 10-day injured list Wednesday. Reliever was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace Gray on the 26-man roster.

Gray was injured Tuesday while warming up for the fourth inning during his start against the Brewers, and he left the 5-1 loss.

“I think the best guess is missing two starts,” Reds manager David Bell said. “The severity obviously could be a lot worse. To me, that was a best-case scenario. I knew when he came out of the game based on how he was feeling after the game that it was at least going to be two starts. The fact that might end up being the case is really good news."

Gray underwent an MRI exam that confirmed there was not a serious injury.

“I hope to take two, three, four days, however long it is here at the beginning and really try to knock it out with some aggressive treatment and hopefully be doing stuff again this weekend,” Gray said while on the field Wednesday afternoon.

In 10 starts this season, Gray is 1-4 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. He opened the season on the 10-day IL because of a mid-back strain.

“I’m trying to look on the bright side of it,” Gray said. “Trying to take the road of positivity and kind of say, ‘You know what? It could’ve been worse.’ The timing does suck and it’s never fun to do that, but it could’ve been worse. I still think it was the right decision to [exit early] -- tackle this thing before it gets worse and it’s a long, drawn out thing.”

Gray’s next turn in the rotation is Sunday vs. the Rockies.

“No plan in place yet with the rotation,” Bell said.

The Reds have limited starter options available on their 40-man roster. Louisville starting pitchers Tony Santillan and Riley O’Brien are the only two.

Naquin looked good

The Reds were relieved that outfielder Tyler Naquin didn’t have to miss more time after he was lifted from Sunday’s game after two innings with left hamstring tightness. Naquin didn’t start Tuesday vs. Milwaukee, but he entered in a double switch and went 1-for-3.

“He proved he was OK, he was fine,” Bell said. “I didn’t get a time on him, but it looked like the fastest he has ran all year. He was flying; he can run and it seemed even faster last night.”

Stephenson will get chances

Now that Joey Votto is back from the injured list after missing just over a month with a fractured left thumb, Tyler Stephenson’s opportunities to play first base will obviously diminish. Stephenson, the rookie catcher, started behind the plate and batted fourth Wednesday.

“We’ll work him in as much as possible. He has shown he’s able to swing the bat. We’ve put him in the middle of the order when he plays,” Bell said. “We’ll continue to try to find opportunities, and obviously, Tucker [Barnhart] is going to catch a lot. [It’s] more back to the way it was at the beginning of the year where [Stephenson is[ catching one every three or four days. The good news is while Joey was out, it did create opportunities for Tyler, it got him more at-bats which will serve him well the rest of the year.”