CLEVELAND –– Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell will have to adjust the Reds starting rotation next week.
For the last week, since moving Vladimir Gutierrez to the bullpen, the Reds have used the off days on their schedule to carry a four-man rotation. Soon, the Reds will have to go back to using a five-man rotation.
While starting pitcher Mike Minor could slot into that fifth spot, Nick Lodolo is not currently a candidate due to a lower right back injury.
Minor has missed the start of the season with a sore shoulder, but he has made two successful rehab starts and has one more scheduled on Friday in Triple-A.
“If all goes well there, I think there will be a conversation of getting him back into the rotation after that,” Bell said.
Lodolo isn’t as close to returning to the Reds’ rotation. His growth this season had been one of the most important developments, and he made a really impressive start in his last outing. On April 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals, Lodolo pitched 5 ⅔ and allowed one run with seven strikeouts.
He felt the issue in his back during that game, but Lodolo expected it to be a minor issue at the time. As recently as May 6, Lodolo was scheduled to get back in the Reds rotation on May 7.
Then he suffered a setback, and now Lodolo will take a week off from throwing. He had a doctor’s appointment scheduled in Cincinnati this week.
“It was actually a good exam he had,” Bell said. “They did not find anything concerning or new. But he was still having some pain when he threw so they’re going to give him one solid week off and go forward. “
Reds second baseman Jonathan India has been out with a hamstring injury since April 30. India has started hitting, fielding and running, but he still has boxes to clear before he begins a rehab assignment.
“He’s not ready yet,” Bell said. “When we get back off this road trip, back in Cincinnati, (he will) see our doctors again. Maybe this time next week, we could have a plan in place for sending him out on rehab. ”
Reds shortstop prospect Jose Barrero has missed the start of the season with a left wrist injury, and he’s nearing the start of a rehab assignment. He recently got five at-bats in a game at the Reds spring training complex, and he’s expected to begin his rehab assignment in Triple-A on Friday.
Barrero has a shot to become the Reds starting shortstop this season, but the focus of his rehab assignment will be getting healthy.
“It’s not so much the proving as it is getting baseball played because it’s been very sporadic for him,” Bell said. “He’s going to need these three weeks for sure, not only to make sure he’s healthy but to use it as spring training almost to get back into playing.”
Reds reliever Justin Wilson is out with a left flexor mass, and he has started throwing from 90 feet. Outfielder Jake Fraley (right knee) has been taking batting practice and working in the outfield, and he’s close to a rehab assignment.
Starting pitcher Justin Dunn has been out for the last 11 months with a right shoulder injury, but Bell said Dunn could be on track to return at the All-Star break.