The Cincinnati faithful finally saw Hunter Greene make his big league debut after a five-year wait. It doesn't appear as though the wait will be as long for Cincinnati Reds left-handed prospect Nick Lodolo. The southpaw is expected to make his major league debut on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park.
However, the 24-year-old's time in the big leagues might be shorter than many fans expect. With news of Mike Minor beginning a rehab assignment with Double-A Chattanooga on Wednesday, it's fair to question how long Lodolo will be part of the Reds starting rotation.
According to Reds manager David Bell, Minor threw 35 pitches without issue during a simulated game at Truist Park on Friday. When Minor, and to a greater extent Luis Castillo, return from the Injured List, two of the team's starters will not be part of the rotation any longer.
Will Reds LHP prospect Nick Lodolo be one-and-done after his 1st start?
You have to imagine that this was not the way David Bell envisioned things unfolding once the MLB lockout was over. The Cincinnati Reds skipper went from a starting rotation of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Vladimir Gutierrez, and battle for the fifth spot, to Mahle, Gutierrez, and three rookie hurlers.
The Redlegs allowed Wade Miley to leave via waivers during the fall and proceeded to trade Gray prior to Opening Day. Cincinnati also dealt reliever Amir Garrett to the Kansas City Royals, and received veteran left-hander Mike Minor in return.
Am I reading between the lines too much by assuming that Minor's rehab assignment in Double-A corresponds with the likely debut of Nick Lodolo? If Lodolo toes the rubber for the first time on Wednesday, April 13th versus the Cleveland Guardians, one would assume his second start of the season would be the following Monday in San Diego.
Both the Louisville Bats and the Chattanooga Lookouts have an off-day on Monday, April 18th. So, will the Cincinnati Reds elect to offer Minor an extra day of rest and then make another rehab start, or will Lodolo be sent down to Triple-A in favor of the veteran pitcher?
This may be just an exercise in reading the tea leaves, but don't be shocked if Nick Lodolo makes only one start and then returns to Triple-A Louisville. Wednesday won't be the only time we see Lodolo this season, but some added seasoning in the minors might not be the worst thing for the lefty. Lodolo only threw in 50.2 innings last season.