By the time Anthony DeSclafani takes the mound for the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, 616 days will have passed since his last start in the big leagues.
A starting pitcher expected to be a future ace and a central piece in the Reds’ rebuilding project missed the entire 2017 season and the first two months of the 2018 season. Even in 2016, when he was 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA, he didn’t pitch until June 10.
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An oblique injury in 2016 followed by an elbow injury in 2017 and then another oblique injury in 2018 has cost DeSclafani, 28, more than 50 starts in a period that would have been the prime of his career. Now he gets the chance to make up for lost time. The Reds announced Sunday he will start the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park.
Here’s a look back at what has happened to DeSclafani since he last pitched for the Reds:
Feb. 27, 2017: DeSclafani was scratched from a spring training start because of discomfort in his below.
“At this point in time we don’t have grave concerns that he won’t be ready for the opening day roster,” then manager Bryan Price said.
March 13, 2017: The Reds sent DeSclafani back to Cincinnati to get an MRI on his sore elbow and announced he would start the season on the disabled list.
March 14, 2017: DeSclafani was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm. The Reds announced he would be unavailable for at least the first month of the season.
April 5, 2017: The Reds transfered DeSclafani to the 60-day disabled list.
May 2, 2017: DeSclafani visited the Reds clubhouse and said he expects to begin throwing in several weeks.
“It’s not like I’m sitting around and doing nothing,” he said. “I’m getting my running in. I’m getting my workouts in. I go to therapy three or four times a week. I’m definitely active. This is my career. This is what I want to do. I want to have a long career. I try to take care of my body as much as I can. I don’t know if it’s bad luck. I don’t want that label on me, for sure. I want to be a guy that’s reliable, that comes in and makes 30-plus starts. I haven’t been able to do that.”
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June 8, 2017: DeSclafani initiated a throwing program, Price said, but won’t pitch for the Reds until at least August.
July 23, 2017: DeSclafani began a rehab assignment that included one start in the Arizona League and two with the Dayton Dragons.
Aug. 3, 2017: In his second rehab start with Dayton, DeSclafani allowed eight earned runs in 1/3 of an inning. The Reds announced he left the game because of right forearm discomfort. He was diagnosed with tendinitis.
Sept. 18, 2017: DeSclafani threw a simulated game in Arizona, but by this point, it’s clear he won’t pitch in the big leagues in 2017.
Feb. 15, 2018: At the start of spring training, DeSclafani said, “It’s been a year now. Hopefully, I can get myself to have a nice long, pain-free year.”
March 12, 2018: The Reds announced DeSclafani has a strained left oblique muscle and won’t be ready for Opening Day.
March 29, 2018: The Reds put DeSclafani on the 60-day disabled list.
May 30, 2018: DeSclafani made the last of four rehab starts, allowing two earned runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He goes 0-3 with a 4.66 ERA.