Mike Minor's impending return spells doom for this Reds pitcher

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Minor (31) stretches during workouts.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Minor (31) stretches during workouts. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Mike Minor completed his rehab assignment and looks ready to return to the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation. The left-hander actually tossed an immaculate inning for the Louisville Bats on Friday night, getting three outs on just nine pitches in the third inning.

But while this is good news for the Reds as a whole, it means that someone will lose their roster spot. We just saw Colin Moran and Jared Solomon optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Friday, and they'll likely have a fellow teammate join them in the coming days.

David Bell has a decision to make, and today's game versus the San Francisco Giants could go a long way toward helping the Cincinnati Reds skipper make his choice.

Vladimir Gutierrez should get the boot when Mike Minor returns to the Reds rotation.

Vladimir Gutierrez was originally supposed to be a key piece of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation this season. The right-hander has struggled mightily in 2022 and David Bell demoted the second-year hurler to the bullpen over a week ago.

Gutierrez has yet to make a relief appearance and due to injuries to the likes of Nick Lodolo and Connor Overton, the Cuban will make his eighth start of the season on Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Gutierrez is 0-6 on the season with an 8.70 ERA and only 24 punch outs through 30 innings of work. Gutierrez has issued 21 walks on the season.

Gutierrez was fantastic during his last outing for the first three innings. He recorded five strikeouts and didn't allow a hit. But the floodgates opened in the fourth inning as the right-handed hurler allowed back-to-back doubles, a single, and a three-run bomb. Gutierrez was replaced by Jeff Hoffman in the fifth inning.

Mike Minor will undoubtedly take Vladimir Gutierrez's spot in the rotation. There's no question about that. But will Minor outright replace Gutierrez on the team? I think the smart money is on that happening.

The only other player among the Reds pitching staff who would remotely be considered might be Joel Kuhnel. But the hard-throwing right-hander has done nothing to deserve being optioned to Triple-A. The Reds should instead sent Gutierrez back to the Derby City and transition him from a starter into a reliever.

Tony Santillan went through the same process last season and he's now one of David Bell's most trusted relievers this season. Look for Vladimir Gutierrez to be making his last appearance as a starter during Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants.

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