Cincinnati Reds pitcher Derek Law has been on the injured list since May 19th with a right elbow sprain. Law was sent on a rehab assignment at High-A Dayton just a few days ago and has since been reassigned to the Louisville Bats to complete his stint in the minors.
All indications are that Law will pitching tonight for the Louisville Bats and then return to the active roster later this week, perhaps as early as Friday's series opener against the San Diego Padres.
Obviously the Reds need Law to help stabilize a bullpen that has seen better days. Since Law landed the on the IL, it's been an ever-revolving door of relievers shuttled from Triple-A to the big leagues and back to the Derby City. So who's most likely headed back down once Law is activated?
Which Reds reliever will lose his roster spot once Derek Law returns from the IL?
Well, there's a handful of pitchers who won't be sent packing once Derek Law returns from the 15-day IL. Obviously Lucas Sims and Alexis Diaz are safe. Neither Buck Farmer nor Ian Gibaut have minor league options remaining, so that takes them out of contention as well.
With Alex Young being the lone lefty in the bullpen, he's off limits as well. That narrows the list, assuming Alec Mills was promoted to fill a spot in the starting rotation, to Fernando Cruz, Eduardo Salazar, and Daniel Duarte.
Based on recent performance, it's difficult to make the case for any of those three to lose their roster spot, but somebody has to go. All signs point to Salazar being optioned back to Triple-A.
Salazar's contract was selected back in mid-May and the right-hander was optioned back to Triple-A earlier this month. But Salazar was recently recalled to help give the taxed bullpen a break.
After getting lit up for three earned runs on three hits and failing to record a strikeout during Monday's game against the Baltimore Orioles, one would assume the writing is on the wall.
But Fernando Cruz and Daniel Duarte better not get too comfortable, because Tony Santillan may not be too far from a return himself. The right-hander is currently on a rehab assignment and could be back early next week.