Cincinnati starter Nick Lodolo made an appearance on the Reds Hot Stove radio program Wednesday night. The left-hander gave fans an update on the injury he suffered last season that sidelined him for the majority of his sophomore campaign.
During the interview, Lodolo said that he's scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday and when the time comes for him to be "game-ready", he expects to be ready to go.
This is a welcome relief to Reds fans who've been hopeful that the team's 2019 first-round draft choice will be fully-healthy once spring training begins in a few weeks. Lodolo started just seven games a season ago, and is seen as a key piece in the Reds' 2024 starting rotation.
Nick Lodolo expects to be 100-percent once spring training begins
If the Cincinnati Reds rotation is going to make that step forward that so many expect heading into the 2024 season, Lodolo will be a big reason why. One could make the argument, following their rookie year in 2022, that Lodolo was the best of the three starters who debuted for Cincinnati that season.
Unfortunately, a lower leg injury hampered Lodolo's success in 2023. The southpaw revealed, during the interview with radio hosts Jim Day and Tommy Thrall, that he suffered the initial injury during spring training, but was able to work around it for a brief period of time. However, it became apparent as the season progressed that Lodolo was not himself.
During his first two starts of 2023, Lodolo looked like the Reds' ace. Through the first two games of last season, Lodolo allowed just two runs on 10 hits while striking out 21 batters in 12 innings of work. After three games, Lodolo had 27 punch outs over 17 innings pitched, but the opposing batters began to amass a number of hits.
Lodolo cited a lack of stability when he attempted to push through the injury last season, and said during the interview that he was essentially using just his arm to pitch. That may sound a little obvious to some people, but in reality a pitcher needs his legs just as much as his arms in order to execute properly.
Once spring training begins next month, Lodolo be in line to be the Reds Opening Day starter. While that honor will likely go to either Hunter Greene or recently-signed right-hander Frankie Montas, a healthy Nick Lodolo could be the Reds best starting pitcher in 2024.