Reds send rookie outfielder back to minor leagues, tease mystery roster move

Color me intrigued.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Blake Dunn (76) runs the bases
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Blake Dunn (76) runs the bases / Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

After the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday night, the club optioned outfielder Blake Dunn back to Triple-A Louisville. The Reds had originally called Dunn up to the major league roster with the string of upcoming opponents who were poised to deploy a left-handed starting pitcher.

Dunn had just one hit in 10 at-bats, but was able to reach base safely in other ways — including taking a 101 mph fastball off his helmet — while managing to score four runs during his brief seven-game run in The Show There's no doubt that the Reds will find a way to get Dunn back up to the big leagues later this season.

But rather than announcing a corresponding move, the Reds chose not to reveal who'd be taking Dunn's spot on the active roster. Seeing as how there's no room on the 40-man roster, this seems unlikely to be prospect. Noelvi Marte is still a couple weeks away from being eligible to rejoin the team, so what gives?

Reds option Blake Dunn back to minor leagues, tease mystery roster move

The most likely scenario is that Nick Martini will rejoin the club in Milwaukee and act as the Reds' left-handed hitting designated hitter when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound. Looking ahead, the Reds will face right-hander Freddy Peralta on Friday, right-hander Bryse Wilson on Saturday, and right-hander Colin Rea on Sunday at American Family Field.

With that in mind, Cincinnati would effectively be keeping Dunn on the bench as the team's second option to pinch-hit behind fellow right-handed hitting outfielder Stuart Fairchild. None of the starters have been named for the following series in Pittsburgh.

Furthermore, MLB rules state that unless an injury occurs, position players who are optioned to the minor leagues must remain there for at least 10 days. Martini was sent down to Triple-A on June 4th, meaning that Friday would be the first day he's permitted to rejoin the club.

There is an outside chance that Peyton Burdick, Livan Soto, or Conner Capel could rejoin the Reds active roster as well. Soto and Capel have been swinging a hot bat, but so has Martini. The veteran had a 1.058 OPS with the Louisville Bats last week.

The Reds are always full of surprises, so don't be shocked if something peculiar happens on Friday. But for all those Reds fans expecting to see Marte back in the lineup, you'll have to wait a little longer.

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