Unfortunately, Lucas Sims is back on the Injured List. The Cincinnati Reds reliever was placed on the IL with back spasms retroactive to Wednesday. In his absence, other Reds relievers will have the opportunity to shine.
Sims, who missed the first several weeks of the season with a similar injury, was thought to be one of the Reds best arms out of the bullpen this season. Prior to going on the IL, you could make the argument that Sims was David Bell's best option to close out games this season.
While that may still hold true, the Reds will need other relievers to step up while Sims is on the mend. Robert Dugger and Jared Solomon were added to the 26-man roster on Thursday and fellow right-hander Dauri Moreta was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
Alexis Díaz will have an increased role with Lucas Sims on the IL.
Lucas Sims is the latest Cincinnati Reds reliever to land on the IL. Justin Dunn, whom the Reds traded for prior to the 2022 season, is currently on the 60-day IL. Tejay Antone, after recovering from Tommy John surgery, will not pitch in 2023. And Justin Wilson has been out of action for several days as well and won't be back anytime soon.
While it's difficult to overcome injuries to so many key players, the absence of Sims will undoubtedly shove Alexis Díaz into more high-leverage situations. Díaz has been one of the most pleasant surprises for Cincinnati this season.
Díaz has now outlasted Daniel Duarte and Dauri Moreta, and is the lone Reds rookie left in the bullpen. Well, now that Jared Solomon is on the roster as well, I guess that's not 100% accurate. Nonetheless, Díaz has impressed early and often in 2022.
The right-hander has 18 punch outs in 15 appearances and owns an ERA of just 0.59. According to Baseball Reference, the majority of Díaz's appearances have come in low-leverage situations. Only six of the 62 batters Díaz has faced have come in high-leverage situations.
I think we should expect that to change relatively quickly, as Solomon and Dugger are much more likely, along with Joel Kuhnel, to be put in during low-leverage situations. Look for Alexis Díaz to appear later in games over the next few weeks. To date, Díaz has only appeared after the seventh inning on three occasions this season.