Reds starter Nick Lodolo has been out of action since May 6 due to a left leg issue. Initially announced as calf tendinitis, the injury was later revised to a more concerning tibia stress reaction.
Lodolo has spent the better part of a month in a walking boot. Follow-up imaging this afternoon confirmed he’d need at least another two weeks in the boot, skipper David Bell told the media (relayed by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer). He’ll go for additional testing at that point.
According to Bell, Lodolo would likely need four to six weeks from the time he’s out of the walking boot before he’d be ready for game action. The long layoff will require him to build arm strength back via a throwing program. At the earliest, that timeline would suggest an early-August return to Great American Ball Park. Further delays or the longer end of that expected throwing program could keep him out well into the month.
Lodolo is already on the 60-day injured list. He’s eligible to return around the All-Star Break but clearly won’t be ready by that point. It has been a frustrating season for the second-year hurler. He’s started seven games and pitched to a 6.29 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. The former seventh overall pick had also spent a couple months on the IL last season — in that case due to a lower back strain — but impressed with a 3.66 ERA over 103 1/3 frames as a rookie.
The Reds weren’t generally expected to compete this season. That’d have been especially tough to envision if one could’ve predicted Lodolo’s injury woes, but Cincinnati’s influx of young infield talent has helped them outperform most preseason forecasts. The Reds sit at 34-35, just two games behind the Pirates in a lackluster NL Central. If Cincinnati can hang in the playoff picture deep into the summer, Lodolo’s return could take on extra importance for a club currently giving regular rotation run to each of Luke Weaver, Ben Lively and Brandon Williamson.