Nick Lodolo's dominant rehab assignment ensures Reds' rotation is in for shakeup

Nick Lodolo is closing in on a return to the big leagues.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Nick Lodolo / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds have only played three games, but one of the team's starting pitchers will soon be taking on a different role. Nick Lodolo had his first rehab assignment and the left-hander was absolutely dominant.

Lodolo toed the rubber for the Louisville Bats on Sunday. The southpaw went five innings and struck out eight, including a sequence in which he sat down six consecutive batters. Lodolo left the game after allowing one run on two hits.

Lodolo is on track to return to the Reds starting rotation later this month. It's being reported that Cincinnati is targeting April 10th against the Milwaukee Brewers. That gives manager David Bell a little less than two weeks to decide how the Reds' rotation will shake out going forward.

Nick Lodolo's dominant rehab assignment ensures Reds' rotation is in for shakeup

Lodolo is arguably the Reds best pitcher. Second baseman Jonathan India had high praise for the lefty this spring after facing Lodolo multiple times on the back fields. India believes that Lodolo has Cy Young-type stuff.

So far, the Reds have sent Frankie Montas, Nick Martinez, and Hunter Greene to the bump. Montas was filthy on Opening Day, and his spot in the Reds starting rotation is secure. Greene pitched well on Saturday, but failed to make it past the the fifth inning. Sunday's series finale against the Washington Nationals was a grind for Martinez, but he only allowed three runs.

Andrew Abbott will take the ball on Monday versus the Philadelphia Phillies with Graham Ashcraft making his 2024 debut on Tuesday evening. If one or both of those starters struggle, it's quite likely that Lodolo will take their spot in the rotation. Both Abbott and Ashcraft have minor league options remaining.

The Reds could always move Martinez into the bullpen as well. Given how poorly the relief corps performed over the weekend, that's a very real possibility. Tejay Antone did not look sharp in his first outing of the season, and with minor league options remaining, the right-hander could be sent down to Triple-A.

Lodolo missed almost all of last season with a lower leg injury but has been all systems go this spring. A healthy Lodolo is better than almost any other pitcher in the Reds organization, and the Cincinnati faithful can't wait to have the former first-round pick back on the mound in 2024.

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