Sonny Gray was scratched from a scheduled Cactus League outing today due to a recurring back issue that will likely put the right-handed on the injured list to begin the season. Gray told The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale and other reporters that he has been dealing with back spasms for the past month, and since he’ll need time to ramp back up after being shut down for a few days, he will probably miss the season’s first week.
“The way we’ve all kind of thought about it was, do we take five or six days right now and completely try to knock it out so you’re a week behind to start the season or eight days or whatever it ends up being? Or do you just keep going and maybe it turns into a larger issue and then maybe you miss 10 starts,” Gray said.
Since IL placements can be backdated by three days, a minimum 10-day injured list visit would result in Gray missing the Reds’ first six games, thanks to an off-day in the schedule. Since the Reds are also off on April 8, it would theoretically line Gray up for his season debut April 9 against the Diamondbacks if his injury recovery goes as planned.
As Gray noted, both he and the Reds surely want to be as cautious as possible, though Gray’s absence does create a larger void in Cincinnati’s rotation that has taken some hits in recent days. Fifth starter candidate Tejay Antone left today’s game with a minor groin strain, while Wade Miley left a game earlier this week due to a hamstring injury. While there has yet to be word the seriousness of these injuries, should IL placements also be required, the Reds would be starting the year with a provisional rotation of Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Michael Lorenzen, Jeff Hoffman, and Jose De Leon. Cincy picked up another arm today by claiming Carson Fulmer off waivers from the Pirates.