The Reds announced today that they have placed righty Robert Stephenson on the 10-day injured list. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by southpaw Zach Duke, who is back from an IL stint for a right calf strain.
Stephenson is said to be dealing with a cervical strain. There’s really no indication at this point of how long he might be sidelined. Hopefully, it’ll only require a short bit of rest.
It’s unfortunate to see a health issue arise now for Stephenson, who has finally found something at the MLB level at 26 years of age. The former first-round pick has largely struggled in prior opportunities.
Stephenson is only carrying a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings this year, due in no small part to a low 58.6% strand rate. But he has shown signs of becoming a dominating reliever.
Moving to a full-time relief role has worked out quite nicely. Stephenson isn’t showing a huge fastball velocity jump, but he has all but shelved his change-up and drastically increased the usage of his slider. He now hucks it in with spin on over three of every five pitches.
Those changes have resulted in a hefty 21.1% swinging-strike rate, which Stephenson has converted into 12.6 K/9 while permitting a palatable 3.6 BB/9. Statcast calculates that he’s allowing just 28.6% hard contact.
Also heading onto the active roster for the Reds is lefty Wandy Peralta. There was another opening when Lucas Sims was optioned down after his spot start yesterday. The team also shifted starter Alex Wood to the 60-day injured list to make 40-man room for the claim of R.J. Alaniz. That’s a paper move regarding Wood, since he has already missed more than the sixty day minimum.