5:00pm: DeSclafani is only expected to miss one start, GM Nick Krall told reporters (Twitter link via The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans).
12:18pm: The Reds announced today that right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will open the season on the 10-day injured list due to a “mild” right teres major strain. A timetable for his expected recovery was not provided. The move is retroactive to Monday.
The 30-year-old DeSclafani missed all of the 2017 season and struggled in his 2018 return before enjoying a quality bounceback effort in 2019. Last year saw the righty work to a 3.89 ERA and 4.43 FIP with career-bests in both K/9 (9.0) and total strikeout percentage (24.0). DeSclafani also averaged just 2.7 walks per nine frames and turned in a 42.9 percent ground-ball rate. Like many pitchers in the league, his HR/9 mark was well above his career levels (1.57 versus 1.20), but last year’s juiced ball surely played a role in that.
DeSclafani’s 94.7 mph average fastball velocity last year was a career-high for the righty, as was his 10.1 percent swinging-strike rate. DeSclafani went to his sinker less than in prior years, instead favoring a four-seamer more regularly, and he upped his curveball usage at the expense of some sliders as well. The overall result was a quality year from a pitcher who was building a nice free-agent case. He’ll hit the open market for the first time this winter, so a lengthy absence will be particularly problematic for the right-hander. It’s encouraging, though, that the club made sure to term the strain as “mild” in nature, though they’ll surely provide additional info on his recovery process in the coming days.
With DeSclafani opening on the IL, fellow righty Tyler Mahle might be the favorite to slot into the rotation behind the talented quartet of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer and Wade Miley. Cincinnati’s 30-man roster currently has just 28 players, so some additions will likely be announced today or tomorrow.