Cincinnati Reds remove Lisalverto Bonilla from list of bullpen candidates despite injuries

Mandatory credit: Kareem Elgazzer/The Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK
Mandatory credit: Kareem Elgazzer/The Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK /
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The Cincinnati Reds have decided that Lisalverto Bonilla will start the season somewhere besides Cincinnati in their organization.

With injuries mounting up in the pitching staff, the Cincinnati Reds elected to send Lisalverto Bonilla to the minor league camp ending his run at making the roster to start the season.  Considering that he is on the forty man roster, this is a bit of a surprise.  The Reds need to make sure that they have carefully examined all of their options after last season’s disastrous first half in the bullpen.

Bonilla pitched in 4 games this spring, pitching five innings.  He pitched three times in relief and made one start.  Over the course of the spring he posted a 7.20 ERA.

Bonilla went from in the running to make the rotation to a bullpen afterthought in short order.  Bonilla had two good outings and two bad outings.  It is those two bad outings that sent Bonilla to the minor league camp.

In his one start this spring, Bonilla surrendered four hits in one inning, allowing 2 runs.  He also allowed another pair of runs in a separate relief appearance.  In defense of allowing two runs in a relief appearance, he at least pitched two innings.

The Cincinnati Reds are hoping that Lisalverto Bonilla can return to his former roots as a top pitching prospect.

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Bonilla made his MLB debut for the Texas Rangers all of the way back in 2014.  He pitched in 5 games including 3 starts.  Bonilla hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since.

Last season Bonilla pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization.  He pitched for both their Triple-A and Double-A teams.  In the off-season he signed a major league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Then he was designated for assignment by the Pirates.  When that happened  the Reds jumped at the opportunity to add the young pitcher.  Bonilla has been good as a starter and a reliever, but not elite as either in the minors.

He missed the entire 2015 season in the Texas Rangers’ organization with an elbow injury.  Before and after Bonilla has shown the ability to strikeout a large number of batters.  This spring that didn’t happen.

Lisalverto Bonilla still has a future with the Cincinnati Reds, just not right now.

Of course, Bonilla only pitched 5 innings.  The Reds were excited about him when they claimed him off of waivers from the Pirates.  He was another version of opening day starter Scott Feldman or back end of the bullpen reliever Raisel Iglesias.

Next: Davis vs. Romano for the last spot in the rotation

Considering how high the hopes were, five innings isn’t much time.  Especially when you consider how many pitchers injured that the Reds have.  Hopefully the Reds at least decided what role suits him by now.