Reds news: Michael Lorenzen to 60-day IL is good news for Tejay Antone

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Tejay Antone #70 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds announced on Wednesday that Michael Lorenzen was placed on the 60-day injured list. Lorenzen was previously placed on 10-day IL with a shoulder injury, but the right-hander has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation. While this is bad news for the Reds as a whole, it could be great news for Tejay Antone.

Antone, Lorenzen, José De León, and Jeff Hoffman were all competing this spring for the fifth and final spot in the rotation. Injuries to Lorenzen and Sonny Gray allowed De León and Hoffman to claim spots in the starting rotation during the first couple weeks of the season, but with Gray returning this weekend, De León is headed for the bullpen.

Will Tejay Antone enter the Reds starting rotation?

With Michael Lorenzen now out until at least June, will David Bell continue to run out Jeff Hoffman as the Reds’ No. 5 starter, or will Tejay Antone get a chance? With Hoffman slated to get the start on Friday, it appears as though Bell will keep Antone in the bullpen for now. However, I’m not sure how long that will last.

Hoffman hasn’t been terrible in his first two starts, going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA through 9.1 innings of work. Hoffman has nine strikeouts while allowing three walks, and a 1.286 WHIP. Antone, out of the Cincinnati bullpen, hasn’t allowed a single run through 6.2 innings. The right-hander has nine punch outs and a WHIP of 1.174.

Antone seems destined to enter the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation at some point this season. The native Texan has elevated his game, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s “stretched out”. Antone was hampered by injury this spring and threw just 7.2 innings during Cactus League play. De León went 16.2 and Hoffman threw 18 innings this spring.

Tejay Antone has been un-hittable out of Reds’ bullpen.

There is one drawback to the idea of inserting Tejay Antone into the starting rotation; he’s flourished in the bullpen during the first couple weeks of the season. The 27-year-old tossed one inning of relief following a solid start from Hoffman on April 4th.

Antone then went two innings after Tyler Mahle could only muster four innings versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 9th. In his last appearance, after a solid five innings from Wade Miley, Antone went 3.2 innings on April 12th versus the San Francisco Giants.

I would not be shocked one bit to see Antone come out of thee bullpen in relief of Sonny Gray when the two-time All-Star returns to the team on Saturday versus the Cleveland Indians. Gray will be making his first start of the season and likely isn’t ready to go much beyond 80 pitches.

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By June, I could easily see Tejay Antone supplant Jeff Hoffman in the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation, and upon his return from the 60-day IL, Michael Lorenzen may be ticketed for the bullpen. Antone is a vital part of the Reds pitching staff, no matter when he enters the game.