Tony Santillan's injury may open up a roster spot for this Reds prospect

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Santillan
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Santillan / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell gave some injury updates (via Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer) during the first day of spring training on Tuesday. Most fans had already heard that Tejay Antone suffered a setback and will miss the start of the 2023 season.

Bell clarified on Tuesday that Antone will be out for at least the first month of the season with a flexor strain. Another injured that was mentioned, however, was Tony Santillan. The right-hander suffered a back injury last season and still needs to build up his arm.

Santillan's absence was a bit unexpected, but it'll certainly give an opportunity to several pitchers who'll be vying for a spot in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. The hard-throwing Ricky Karcher may be able to snag a spot on the Reds Opening Day roster.

Tony Santillan's injury may open up a roster spot for Reds prospect Ricky Karcher.

Not many Reds fans have probably heard the name Ricky Karcher. After all, he was just added to the Cincinnati 40-man roster only a few months ago. Along with Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Brandon Williamson, and Levi Stoudt, Karcher was added to the 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

The Reds had good reason to do so. The right-hander, who was a 13th-round draft pick of the Reds back in 2017, was quite impressive in 2022. Karcher split time between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville while posting a 3.65 ERA and recording 10 saves.

Karcher has an electric fastball that can reach triple-digits. But, like a high-velocity pitchers, he doesn't yet have great command. While Karcher struck out 88 batters in 56.2 innings of work, he also walked 40. That 15.9-percent walk-rate is unacceptable at the major leagues level.

Ricky Karcher will need an impressive spring in order to break camp with the Cincinnati Reds. But the absence of both Tejay Antone and Tony Santillan will surely offer the 25-year-old an opportunity to earn his way onto the Reds Opening Day roster.

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