Reds left-hander Nick Lodolo got some good news, per Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The southpaw has been in a walking boot due to a tibia stress reaction in his left leg but the boot is now off and he’s been cleared to ramp up.
That’s not to say that he’s close to a return, as Goldsmith says Lodolo is on a similar timeline to righty Hunter Greene, who isn’t expected back until August. But it’s at least a good sign that things are progressing.
The Reds have surged to the top of the National League Central, currently tied with the Brewers at 43-38. But that’s mostly been fueled by their offense and in spite of a rickety rotation. Lodolo and Greene are two of six starters currently on the injured list, which has obviously had a negative effect on the results. The Reds’ starters have a collective 5.91 ERA this year, better than just the Athletics and Rockies.
Lodolo struggled to a 6.29 ERA this year before landing on the IL but had a much stronger 3.66 mark in his debut last year. Getting him and Greene healthy could give the club a huge boost for the stretch run as they try to take advantage of their surprising return to contention.
Some other notes from around the division…
- Sticking with the Reds, their rotation could get another reinforcement, even earlier than the returns of Lodolo and Greene. Goldsmith relays that right-hander Ben Lively could be back before the All-Star break to make a start. The right-hander returned to the majors this year after a few years in Korea and has been doing well. He posted a 4.11 ERA through 46 innings before landing on the IL due to a right pectoral muscle strain. He struck out 23.1% of opponents against a 6.7% walk rate while getting grounders at a 38.8% clip. The All-Star break is just over a week away, so it seems he’ll be able to come back shortly and get at least one more outing under his belt prior to the layoff. The club’s rotation currently consists of Graham Ashcraft, Levi Stoudt, Brandon Williamson, Andrew Abbott and Luke Weaver but Abbott is the only one out of those with an ERA below 5.82.
- The Pirates got an important arm back today, with right-hander Colin Holderman reinstated from the injured list. He missed the past two weeks with right wrist inflammation. Fellow righty Cody Bolton was optioned in a corresponding move. Holderman has emerged as a key piece of the club’s bullpen, posting a 4.01 ERA over 26 appearances this year. He’s struck out 25.7% of hitters while walking just 6.4% of them and getting grounders at a 48.6% clip. He’s lived up to his name by securing 12 holds and one save, indicating he’s moved up into higher leverage work. The Bucs have alternated hot and cold all year and are currently riding a three-game win streak to get their record to 38-42. Despite that subpar mark, they’re only 4.5 games off the lead with no one running away with the division. Each game will take on magnified importance with the trade deadline now just a month away and having Holderman back is a nice little boost for Pittsburgh.