The Reds announced Friday that they’ve selected the contract of veteran right-hander Heath Hembree from their alternate training site and recalled righty Ryan Hendrix for his big league debut. Infielder Max Schrock and southpaw Cionel Perez were optioned in a pair of corresponding moves (Schrock to the alternate site and Perez to the taxi squad).
Hembree, 32, has spent the vast majority of his career with the Red Sox, for whom he pitched from 2014-20. In parts of seven seasons with Boston, the righty pitched to a 3.70 ERA with a 24.2 percent strikeout rate and an 8.6 percent walk rate. The Red Sox traded him and former teammate Brandon Workman to the Phillies prior to the 2020 trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Nick Pivetta to Boston. Hembree’s time in Philadelphia didn’t go well, however, as was the case for just about every Phillies reliever in 2020. In 9 1/3 innings, he was clobbered for 13 runs on the strength of an alarming seven homers.
That ugly showing notwithstanding, Hembree has a solid track record in the big leagues and enjoyed better results in Spring Training, when he allowed just one run in 7 2/3 frames. The six walks he issued in that time were still an eyesore, but while his control has never been elite, Hembree’s career walk rate has hovered around the league average.
As for the 26-year-old Hendrix, he was Cincinnati’s fifth-round pick back in 2016 and ranked among the organization’s top 30 prospects from 2018-20, per Baseball America. He’s yet to pitch in Triple-A thanks to last year’s lack of a minor league season, but Hendrix has had success at each minor league stop he’s made. Through 172 2/3 frames in the minors, he’s logged a combined 2.55 ERA with an excellent 32.2 percent strikeout rate against a fairly bloated 10.5 percent walk rate. Scouting reports at BA and FanGraphs credit him with a mid-90s heater and a plus slider.