For now, the Reds should keep Tejay Antone in the bullpen

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone / Will Newton/GettyImages

Reds Country is excited to see Tejay Antone return to the mound in 2023. After severely injuring his elbow in 2021, Antone underwent Tommy John surgery for a second time and missed the entire 2022 season.

All signs point to Antone being healthy once spring training gets underway in a few weeks, and there've been some rumblings about the right-hander entering the mix for a spot in the starting rotation.

There's definitely some merit to the thought, as Antone has previous experience as a starter. But for now, Antone should be part of the Cincinnati Reds relief corps.

For now, the Reds should keep Tejay Antone in the bullpen.

During his rookie season in 2020, Tejay Antone appeared in 13 games, including four starts. Antone went 0-3 with a 2.80 ERA with 45 punch outs in 35.1 innings of work.

Antone returned in 2021, but worked exclusively out of the bullpen. Antone was, arguably, Cincinnati's best reliever that season. His curveball earned him the nickname "Captain Hook", and Antone posted a 2.14 ERA over 33.2 innings and struckout 42 batters.

Unfortunately, Antone struggled with injuries throughout his sophomore season and ultimately landed on the 60-day IL after an elbow injury. Antone was on the IL all last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Heading into 2023, there's definitely a battle for the final two spots in the Cincinnati Reds rotation. While Antone certainly has the skillset to earn such a spot, one has to assume that the 29-year-old will be on a strict innings-restriction after undergoing TJ surgery for the second time in his career.

The Reds have enough pitchers who'll be vying for a spot in the rotation (Justin Dunn, Connor Overton, Brandon Williamson, and Luis Cessa), that Tejay Antone would be better used coming out of the bullpen in 2023.

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