It’s been a whirlwind day of transactions for the Reds, who earlier today returned the trio of Aristides Aquino, Graham Ashcraft and Taylor Motter to Triple-A Louisville when they reinstated a handful of players from the restricted list following their series in Toronto. Aquino, however, has now been formally selected to the 40-man roster, per a team announcement, as has outfielder Albert Almora Jr. The Reds will place righty Connor Overton on the 60-day injured list to open one roster spot and will move infielder Donovan Solano from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL to create a second one. Cincinnati also activated Nick Senzel from the injured list and optioned fellow outfielder TJ Friedl to Triple-A Louisville to open an active roster spot.
It’s been a busy day at Great American Ball Park, to say the least. The Reds found out that Overton, who’s made four strong starts for them after signing a minor league contract over the offseason, will be shut down for the next six to eight weeks due to a stress reaction in his back (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon). That period of six to eight weeks is not a total timetable for Overton’s return but rather the time he’ll go without picking up a ball. In all likelihood, he’ll need several more weeks to build up his arm strength once that shutdown period is over.
Based on that newly provided timeline for Overton, it seems as though Overton is due for a months-long absence. He’d tossed 24 2/3 innings of 1.82 ERA ball to begin his time with the Reds, and while his .208 BABIP and minuscule 11.1% strikeout rate pointed to some likely regression, his absence will nonetheless further thin out an already injury-depleted rotation mix. Trade acquisitions Mike Minor and Justin Dunn have yet to pitch for the Reds thanks to shoulder troubles, and a lower back strain has shelved top prospect Nick Lodolo just a few starts into his MLB debut campaign.
As for the newly selected outfielders, neither is a stranger to the Reds’ outfield. That’s particularly true of Aquino, who set the baseball world ablaze when he ripped 14 home runs in August 2019 after being summoned to the Majors. Since that jaw-dropping debut month, however, Aquino has batted just .177/.264/.361 with a 36.2% strikeout rate in 407 plate appearances.
Almora, meanwhile, has logged nine games for the Reds already this season (primarily as a Covid substitute) and hit well n 29 plate appearances: .296/.321/.370. A longtime division rival with the Cubs, he’s a lifetime .266/.303/.388 hitter in the Majors. That includes a solid 2016-17 run to begin his career, however. Dating back to Opening Day 2018, Almora owns a more tepid .253/.291/.361 output.