Less than three weeks before Opening Day, the injuries are mounting for the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff.
Sonny Gray is dealing with back spasms, and Wade Miley and Tejay Antone have hamstring injuries. Manager David Bell is not overly concerned about any of the three and said all could be ready for Opening Day.
“You never want to have to deal with injuries,” Bell said Sunday, “but dealing with it now is better than the season. It’s a tough, physical game. These guys do so much to prepare themselves to compete. Sometimes at the beginning of spring training or at different points in the year, there’s a little bit more of a spike in injuries. We’re trying to do everything we can to avoid that and stay healthy, but sometimes there’s nothing you can do. You work as hard as you can. You take good care of yourself. It’s just part of it.”
Gray allowed one run and two innings in his first Cactus League appearance on March 4. He felt fine and still felt OK after a bullpen session two days later. He was scheduled to make his second appearance of spring training Sunday, but the back spasms were lingering, and he and the Reds decided to take the cautious route and shut him down until Wednesday or Thursday.
“It just makes sense,” Gray said. “You go back and forth. Do I feel OK? Do I keep going, keep throwing? Do we take five or six days right now and completely try to knock it out so you’re a week behind to start the season or eight days or whatever it ends up being? Or do you just keep going and maybe it turns into a larger issue and maybe you miss 10 starts. Maybe you miss 12 starts. Maybe you miss 15 starts. Maybe you miss zero. I don’t know. But it just kind of makes sense to take five or six days now rather than risk taking a month or two battling through something and maybe it potentially gets worse.”
Antone, who’s competing for a starting job, made his third appearance of spring training Sunday. He allowed one earned run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings. He left the game early because of the hamstring issue.
“I was warming up for the fourth inning and felt a little tweak,” Antone said. “I was going to stretch it and continue. (Mike) Moustakas saw me stretching and said, ‘Don’t push it.’ I thought, ‘He’s probably right. I probably shouldn’t push anything right now.’ I called out the trainer. I think it’ll be fine. I told the trainer I think I’ll be able to make the next start.”
Miley threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings Thursday in his first appearance of spring training. He left with a hamstring strain but is scheduled to start Tuesday.
“I am a lot better now,” Miley said Friday. “It was more of a precaution. I felt a little sting in the back of my hamstring, down by my knee, on three consectutive pitches. Nothing super painful at all. I just felt at that moment, I’ve already got the amount of pitches I was looking to throw. No sense in pushing it any farther. I’m trying to be smart about it.”
NOTES: The Reds lost 10-4 to the San Diego Padres on Sunday, falling to 3-10 in the Cactus League. They are in last place, tied with the Chicago White Sox (3-8) for fewest victories.
• The Reds made a number of roster moves Friday. They acquired infielder Mike Freeman from the Cleveland Indians for cash. They invited pitcher Brandon Finnegan and infielder Jonathan India to major-league camp, while optioning pitchers Edgar Garcia, Vladimir Gutierrez, Ryan Hendrix, Riley O’Brien, Tony Santillan and Jared Solomon to Triple-A Louisville. They reassigned to minor league camp pitchers R.J. Alaniz, Matt Ball, Shane Carle, Bo Takahashi and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. to minor-league camp.
• On Sunday, the Reds claimed right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer off waivers from the Pirates. Fulmer made eight relief appearances for the White Sox last season, posting a 2.61 ERA.
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