McCoy: Reds top reliever Antone placed on injured list

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tejay Antone throws to the plate during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday, April 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tejay Antone throws to the plate during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday, April 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Credit: Mark J. Terrill

Credit: Mark J. Terrill

The Cincinnati Reds 2021 motto, “Good vibes only,” is receiving a stern test on the injury front.

Tejay Antone, the team’s best relief pitcher in a sea of mediocrity, was placed on the 10-day injured list before Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

There are now 11 players occupying the injured list that includes five pitchers, Antone, Sonny Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Michael Lorenzen and Michael Feliz. The position players on the IL are Mike Moustakas, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Alex Blandino and Max Schrock.

Antone revealed that his forearm has been testy for a few weeks, making him unavailable at times. The problem is inflammation of the right forearm.

Manager David Bell said the IL is a precautionary measure and Antone is expected back as soon as he is eligible to return.

Antone is 1-0 with a 1.41 earned run average in 20 appearances with three saves. When asked how a pitcher can put up a 1.41 earned run average with an delicate forearm, Antone laughed and said, “A lot of luck, a lot of grounds balls into the shifts.”

And the Reds, needing a Sunday starter, are calling up right-handed pitcher Tony Santillan to make that start against the Rockies.

Antone had Tommy John surgery a couple of years ago but said the current issue is unrelated.

“It is not on the inside of my elbow in the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) area,” he said. “I’m not worried about that. This is new to me and I have been dealing with it for a few weeks. It hasn’t affected my ability on the field, but it was delaying me getting available again. We decided to take precautions and get ahead of it instead of pushing through it.”

Antone warmed up in the ninth inning Wednesday but did not come into the game.

“I was warming up and it didn’t feel good,” he said. “It was taking it a long time to get game ready. I had expressed that to (coach) Lee Tunnell. It was actually starting to have an effect. Luckily it wasn’t in the game. There were a few outings that when I pitched, I would ask for an extra day off.

“It was affecting the team’s preparation and it could have gotten worse,” he added. “It was extremely hard for me to accept the IL. As of yesterday, I was good to go and wanted to push through it. They made that decision for me and I agree with it.

“It’s good. I’m good to go. It will be a couple of days to get reset and I’ll be good to go,” he added.

Santillan, a No. 2 draft pick in 2015, will make his major league debut after putting together a 1-3 record in 10 starts for the Louisville Bats. His earned run average is a more than respectable 2.51 and he leads Triple-A with 45 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings.

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tony Santillan (64) is taken out by Reds manager David Bell, right, during the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tony Santillan (64) is taken out by Reds manager David Bell, right, during the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tony Santillan throws to a Texas Rangers batterduring the second inning of a spring training baseball game Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tony Santillan throws to a Texas Rangers batterduring the second inning of a spring training baseball game Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

Credit: Ross D. Franklin

In a start last Friday against St. Paul, he held the Saints to two runs over seven innings and struck ourt a career-best 13.

“He is kind of like (Vladimir) Gutierrez,” said Bell of Santillan, comparing him to the recent call-up who is 2-1 in three starts. “We’ve gotten to know him over the last three years (during spring training). Everyone in the minor leagues has been nothing but positive.

“Everyone loves Tony, not only as a pitcher, but as a competitor and for his work ethic,” added Bell. “There is a lot to be excited about.”

The Reds did not immediately fill Antone’s spot on the roster and played Friday night’s game one player short.

Asked if Lucas Sims fills Antone’s back of the game role, Bell said, “Lucas remains a very important part of our bullpen, not only for how he has pitched, but how he has served in any role you can imagine, which isn’t easy. He has been asked to close games, he has been asked to pitch in the fifth, the seventh, all over. And he has consistently done a good job with whatever he has been asked to do.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

Rockies at Reds, 4:10 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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