The Reds announced Thursday morning that they’ve placed right-hander Tejay Antone on the 15-day injured list due to discomfort in his right elbow. Cincinnati also reinstated righty Ben Lively from the Covid-related injured list and selected the contract of right-hander Carson Spiers from Double-A Chattanooga. Right-hander Connor Phillips who’d been up as a Covid-related replacement player, has been returned to Triple-A Louisville.
Antone, 29, only just returned from a two-year absence stemming from Tommy John surgery earlier this month. He’s pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, but the right-hander left last night’s game with a trainer after experiencing discomfort in that surgically repaired elbow. While Antone downplayed the issue to an extent after the game, it seems the Reds have deemed a pause on his throwing is needed. There’s still technically enough time remaining on the schedule for Antone to return to the mound in the final three games of the season, but given the timing of the IL placement and minimal days left on the schedule, it’s possible his season will be over.
A healthy Antone is one of the most underrated relievers in the game. He’s only appeared in parts of three big league seasons, thanks largely to those health troubles, but in 74 2/3 innings dating back to 2020, the righty boasts a 2.41 ERA, 32.4% strikeout rate and 49.4% ground-ball rate. Antone has been a bit wild, walking 10.7% of his opponents in his young career, but the results are impressive all the same. The obvious hope for any player following an IL placement is that a major injury can be avoided, but it’d be particularly disheartening to learn of anything severe for Antone after he only just completed a two-year grind back to a Major League mound.
As for the 25-year-old Spiers, he’s already made his big league debut, allowing seven runs in seven innings between two appearances earlier this month. However, he was only on the roster as a Covid-related substitute player and was returned to Triple-A on Sunday. That process didn’t require him to be optioned or passed through waivers. Now, he’s been formally selected to the Major League roster, meaning he’ll be subject to standard option rules moving forward.
Aside from his brief MLB look earlier this month, Spiers has spent the entire season in Double-A. An undrafted signee out of Clemson following the shortened 2020 draft, he’s pitched 83 innings of 3.69 ERA ball with the Reds’ Chattanooga affiliate, whiffing 29.2% of his opponents against an 11.3% walk rate.
Lively, 31, hasn’t pitched in a game since Aug. 26. The right-hander enjoyed a solid three-year run in the Korea Baseball Organization from 2019-21 before returning to affiliated ball on a minor league deal with the Reds for the 2022 season. He re-upped with Cincinnati over the most recent offseason and this year reached the Majors for the first time since throwing one lone inning with the 2019 Royals. He’s pitched in 15 games (12 starts) for the Reds and eaten up 76 2/3 innings, albeit with a lackluster 5.17 ERA. To his credit, that number is skewed by one objectively calamitous start, wherein the Reds left Lively out there to take a 13-run beating in four innings against the Cubs. Lively has a 3.83 ERA in his other 14 appearances.