Reds left-hander Nick Lodolo is done for the season, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. The southpaw has been on the injured list due to a stress reaction in his left tibia and it appears he won’t be able to heal up in time to rejoin the club.
It’s been a frustrating season for Lodolo, who was hoped to be part of a strong one-two atop the Cincinnati rotation this year alongside Hunter Greene. Both pitchers were first-round draft picks and highly-touted prospects before debuting with strong results in 2022. He tossed 103 1/3 innings over 19 starts last year with a 3.66 earned run average, 29.7% strikeout rate, 8.8% walk rate and 46% ground ball rate.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to build on that here in 2023. He made just seven starts with a 6.29 ERA before landing on the injured list with a leg injury. It was initially described as left calf tendinitis, though it was later diagnosed as a stress reaction in his left tibia and he was placed in a walking boot. He was expected back in August and began a rehab assignment but recently was diagnosed with an additional stress reaction in his tibia, which will keep him from coming back again this year.
It will ultimately go down as a mostly lost season for Lodolo, an unfortunate development for him and the club. The Reds have surged out of their rebuild this year, with various rookies debuting and helping the club emerge as legitimate contenders. That’s been thanks largely to a strong group of position players and in spite of a weak pitching staff. The Reds are 10th in the majors in terms of runs scored but have also allowed the eighth-most runs. Their rotation ERA of 5.30 is better than only the Rockies and the A’s.
In addition to Lodolo’s injury issues, just about every other starting pitcher has gone on the injured list or struggled at some point, with Graham Ashcraft the only pitcher on the staff to crack 100 innings so far this season. Despite all of that, the Reds are just one game back of a playoff spot but could have perhaps been in better position with just a little bit better luck in terms of pitcher health.
For Lodolo personally, he’s missed out on a chance to continue developing at the major league level and help his club. He’ll now go into the offseason with an uncertain status and could perhaps face workload concerns next year. Between his seven starts and then his truncated rehab, he only tossed 41 2/3 innings this year. His highest tally as a professional was the 116 he threw last year between the majors and the minors.
Without Lodolo, the Reds will go into the final month of their postseason push with a rotation that currently consists of Greene, Ashcraft, Andrew Abbott, Brandon Williamson and Ben Lively, with Lyon Richardson, Levi Stoudt and others on the 40-man and in the minors as depth.