What should Reds fans expect from Tejay Antone in 2023?

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone. / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

One of the Cincinnati Reds' most exciting players during the 2021 season was Tejay Antone. The right-hander was competing for a spot in the starting rotation, but became David Bell's most trusted reliever as the season went along.

Unfortunately, Antone suffered an elbow injury shortly after the All-Star break that landed him on the injured list. It was eventually discovered that, for the second time in his career, Antone would need to undergo Tommy John surgery.

Antone missed all of the 2022 season and his presence was severely missed. The Reds' relief corps, much like it did in 2020 and 2021, struggled mightily. Antone, however, is expected to return to the mound in 2023. What should the expectation be?

What should Reds fans expect from Tejay Antone in 2023?

There was hope prior to Tejay Antone's injury in 2021 that he could convert back into a starting pitcher. Seeing as how Antone has dealt with two Tommy John surgeries, to help eliminate wear and tear on his elbow, expect to see the right-hander in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen next season.

It's also doubtful that fans should expect to see Antone go more than one inning in relief. Of Antone's 23 appearances in 2021, he went more than one inning on 13 occasions. At least during the early-going, one would assume that Antone will be a rather strict pitch count.

In terms of what his role will be on next year's team, it's unlikely Antone will be the team's closer. Alexis Diaz seems to have that role locked up heading into next season. There are also other high-leverage reliever, in addition to Antone, returning in 2023. Tony Santillan, Jeff Hoffman, and Lucas Sims should all be back next season.

The last time Tejay Antone was on the bump, he was the proud owner of a 2.14 ERA and the nickname "Captain Hook" (due to his devastating breaking ball). Look for Antone to have a high-leverage role with the Cincinnati Reds in 2023, but don't expect too much too early.

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