This pitcher will lose his spot in Reds bullpen when Lucas Sims returns from the IL

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Lucas Sims (39) shares a laugh with teammates during workouts.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Lucas Sims (39) shares a laugh with teammates during workouts. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Lucas Sims is currently on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville. Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell has targeted late next week for Sims return to the club, and that inevitably means that one of the Reds relievers will be removed from the active roster.

To this point, Sims has appeared in two games for the Louisville Bats; one start and one relief appearance. We'll probably see Sims throw a couple more innings in the Derby City before joining the Redlegs next weekend for the team's upcoming home series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

It's early, but Cincinnati's relief corps is already second in the National League in innings pitched. Reds relievers have covered 38.1 innings, but of course that includes Reiver Sanmartin's five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday evening. In looking over the current Cincinnati Reds bullpen, which reliever is most likely to get the boot when Lucas Sims returns from the IL?

Which Reds pitcher should be optioned to make room for Lucas Sims?

A lot can happen over the course of a week, but a handful of Cincinnati Reds relievers are going nowhere. Hunter Strickland, Jeff Hoffman, Luis Cessa, Justin Wilson, and Buck Farmer are all out of minor league options.

No, the Reds are not going to designate any of their relievers for assignment. Not at this stage of the season and not when all optional assignments prior to May 2nd do not count toward the five-option limit recently instituted.

So that narrows the scope to the handful of pitchers who have minor league options remaining. We've already seen Daniel Duarte optioned to Triple-A Louisville, but given how well Alexis Diaz has performed, I find it hard to believe that the rookie will suffer the same fate. But as I stated earlier, a lot can happen in a week.

Diaz, Art Warren, Ryan Hendrix, Tony Santillan, and Dauri Moreta all have minor league options remaining, and of the five Reds relievers, Hendrix is the most likely to be sent down. The right-hander struggled last season in his major league debut, and while he had a successful spring, a return to Triple-A may help Hendrix fine-tune his approach.

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Warren, Moreta, and Santillan have all been relied upon in key situations so far this season, so that should give you an idea of how David Bell values that trio of relievers. It's probably a tossup between Diaz and Hendrix, and this week's results on the diamond could go a long way toward determining who stays and who goes.