Left-handed relief pitcher Amir Garrett felt fine immediately after striking out three batters in his only inning of pitching during Cincinnati’s 5-4, 11-inning win over Milwaukee on Tuesday.
He woke up the next morning with a strained left lat muscle in his back that prompted the Reds on Thursday to place him on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Wednesday.
“We’re taking a cautious approach,” manager David Bell said before Thursday’s game. “It may not be the full 10 days, but you have to think long-term with our guys.
Garrett (3-1) leads Cincinnati’s staff with 42 appearances, three more than right-hander Michael Lorenzen, and his 1.70 earned-run average led National League pitchers with at least 37 appearances. He hadn’t allowed a hit in his last 5-2/3 innings over six appearances.
Bell and the Reds hope that, with the All-Star Game break approaching, sidelining Garrett now will minimize the impact of his absence on the team.
“That’s part of it,” Bell said. “He’s going to be fine. It’s going to be hard not to be with him for 10 days.”
Welcome back: Rather than replace one pitcher with another, the Reds recalled utility player Josh VanMeter was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to fill Garrett’s spot on the roster.
VanMeter has hit .220 in 28 games, including seven starts, over two previous appearances with Cincinnati this season. The Reds decided that the left groin tightness that caused second baseman Scooter Gennett to leave Wednesday’s game after four innings made it more prudent to add a position player.
“It made more sense,” Bell said.
Wednesday’s game was Gennett’s fifth after missing the entire season with a strained right groin. Bell was hopeful Gennett might be available by Saturday after getting today and Friday off.
“It’s amazing how the body works,” Bell said. “This is a minor setback. He woke up encouraged that it wasn’t more sore. There’s no talk of the IL. We’ll see how he responds in the next 24-48 hours.”
Lefty update: Bell also updated the status of other Cincinnati left-handed pitchers. The first was Cody Reed, who hasn’t pitched since suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee while pitching for the Reds against Pittsburgh in a May 27 doubleheader.
“He’s throwing,” Bell said. “He’s healed, but he’s a couple of weeks away from pitching.”
Alex Wood, who’s been out all season with lower back tightness that flared up on him a couple of weeks ago just as he was on the verge of being sent out on a medical rehab assignment, threw a 23-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday.
“We’re encouraged,” Bell said. “He’s real close.”
Wood’s next move still was being decided, Bell added.
Reliever Wandy Peralta, on the 10-day IL since June 15 with a right hip flexor strain, threw his third bullpen on Thursday.
“If all goes well today, I imagine he’ll have to go out (on a medical rehab) for at least one outing,” Bell said.
Star-Spangled birthday: Right-handed relief pitcher Jared Hughes was sitting at his cubicle responded to “Happy Birthday” text messages. Hughes turned 34 on Thursday.
Honoring Robby: After a scheduled Friday off that is rarer than any artifact Indiana Jones or Lara Croft might hunt for, the Reds resume the 2019 season on Saturday as the Ohio Cup series moves south on Interstate 71 for the first of two interleague games against the Cleveland Indians. Cincinnati and Cleveland split two games at Progressive Field on June 11-12, the Indians taking the first game 2-1 in 10 innings and the Reds earning a 7-2 win in the second game.
Saturday’s starter, right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (5-4) got the win in that second game, allowing four hits and one run with two walks and two strikeouts in 5-2/3 innings.
The Ohio Cup series’s Most Outstanding Player award has been renamed in honor of Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who played for both the Reds and the Indians and became in 1975 with Cleveland Major League Baseball’s first African-American manager.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m., and the Reds are scheduled to wear the seventh of the 15 throwback uniforms they’re wearing to help celebrate the 150thanniversary of baseball’s first all-professional team. Saturday’s outfits will be from 1939, the year the Reds won their first National League pennant since the 1919 team won the World Series.