The Cincinnati Reds got some bad news on Monday on Anthony DeSclafani’s right elbow. The right hander has a sprained UCL. According to an article by C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, there’s a tear in the UCL.

On Sunday, the Reds sent him back to Cincinnati to see Kremchek for an MRI, which revealed the sprain, or partial tear of the ligament. He’ll rest for about a month, after which he will be reevaluated by Kremchek and the team medical staff.

There’s certainly a difference between a partial tear and a full tear of the UCL. As noted in the article by Rosecrans, Michael Lorenzen had a similar issue last season and returned with rehab work and rest, while also battling back from mono. At the same time, other pitchers have had a similar situation lead to Tommy John surgery to replace their UCL.

After the four weeks of rest the Reds team doctors will re-evaluate how Anthony DeSclafani‘s elbow is and go from there. If he’s deemed able to pitch, he may be able to return before the end of May. He would need some minor league rehab time to get there first. If DeSclafani isn’t able to, that opens up an entirely different can of worms on what the organization’s approach could be.

The team already knew that they were going to need another starter to begin the season with this situation. Now they are going to need one for at least the first six weeks of the season. They may need one for even longer depending on the outcome. The Reds are once again feeling the injury pains beyond just the guys actually feeling injury pains. Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani were being counted on to anchor the rotation along with Brandon Finnegan. Now two of the three are out for at least the first six weeks of the season, if not longer.

What could the plan be?

The rotation is going to be anchored by a second year starter in Brandon Finnegan and veteran Scott Feldman. Feldman made five starts in 2016. Which three pitchers fill out the rotation after that is still a big question. If the team were going simply off of performance in spring training, then things may be easier to figure out. But service time may come into play, and as bad as that is for the players, it should. Pitchers with no experience in the Major Leagues can be kept down for 10 days and the organization gets an entire extra season of control out of them before free agency. That could really give guys like Cody Reed, Tim Adleman, Robert Stephenson and Lisalverto Bonilla big advantages over guys like Amir Garrett, Sal Romano and Rookie Davis. The latter three could be called up in the second half of April. With missing just one or two starts, it would give the organization an enormous advantage down the road. It may also open up one last chance for Bronson Arroyo.

Don’t be surprised if the Reds are scanning the waiver wire with ferocity over the next few weeks. The team would probably favor grabbing someone with big league experience as a starter. Even if it’s just as insurance early in the season. It’s going to be an interesting next four weeks to see which direction the Cincinnati Reds will go.

32 Responses

    • Doug Gray

      When he was in Arizona he only had an ultrasound done. Got the MRI today. Much clearer picture.

  1. Steve

    Definitely not good news. Would like to know what kind of rehab he will be going through. Is it a full month of rest with or without rehab?
    PRP injections? Strengthening exercises? Just wish there was more transparency. Heal quickly Disco! Let’s see who steps up. Garrett pitched well today, does he get a spot? Romano pitching well all ST, does he get a spot? Will it be Stephenson, Adleman, Davis or Arroyo?
    3weeks to figure it out. May the best men win! Go Reds!

    • Hoyce

      He will try to increase blood flow to the elbow to promote healing. Using ultrasound probably. But that ligament has poor blood flow and prob won’t do much good. My guess is TJ surgery is forthcoming around mid May. And prob the sooner the better. Hope I’m wrong. I really like disco.

  2. Datdudejs

    I don’t get why they constantly misdiagnose injuries. Reds training/medical staff really needs some changes

    • Doug Gray

      Every team has this same process. David Price went from spring training, to rest, to Indianapolis to get another opinion. In fact, he’s said that if he were younger, he’d have gotten surgery. So, he’s probably got a tear and he’s going to try and pitch through it and see what happens.

      “We” just tend to notice it more with the Reds because we follow the Reds and not other teams.

  3. chris

    a partial tear is not same as full ucl tear.. if rest/ or prp injections dont help(see tanaka) there are other surgical options that can repair some torn ligaments and not have the loss of playing time as long as full blown tj surgery..

    • Jack

      Yep, assuming it heals he would be on the same timeline as Lorenzen last year so mid June maybe.

  4. Simon Cowell

    kremcheck the butcher should be kept away from this guy’s arm.
    Sad sad news. The “Bad luck” Reds woeful ways continue.

    Maybe other teams top 2 starters are shelved with arm issues but I don’t follow other teams. If this is a league wide epidemic like this then one of the rule changes will have to be like Nascar….. limit the speed by requiring the wearing of a sleeve that protects the movement of the elbow. Go to underhand throwing until they find a real cure and start showing some compassion for pitchers. If they can protect catchers from unnecessary collisions at the plate surely they can find a way to limit the shredding of throwing arms.

    • Doug Gray

      Kremcheck didn’t put his arm in a vice and start twisting it. Also a reminder that other teams send players to Kremchek…. his reputation for arms, particularly elbows, is pretty good.

      • Nate Adams

        I had TJ by Kremcheck… he actually does put your arm in a vice and twists

  5. MK

    One of my former neighbors Adam Eaton had the same diagnosis when with the Diamondbacks and ended up missing half a season as an outfielder. On the positive side he has had a complete recovery without surgery, but throwing isn’t 90% of his game either

  6. Jack

    This season has suddenly gotten a lot darker, hopefully they can avoid a 100 losses again

    • Jack

      or maybe run Arroyo and Feldman out there for 35 starts each and go for the first pick in the draft.

      • Hoyce

        That is actually best for the Reds long term. As tough as it will be to watch

      • The Duke

        I’d rather see Arroyo’s swan song for 4-5 starts and get the extra year for as many of the young arms as possible then sign someone else who may start all year and not get the young arms experience. After a month of two we can release Arroyo, and if I were the Reds, I’d offer him a job as assistant pitching coach or something along those lines just to help mentor all the young arms throughout the year afterwards. At his age injury might take care of that anyway and we just throw him on the 60 day DL the rest of the year but still have him travel with the club. His experience and pitching savvy would be a great resource for the likes of Reed, Stephenson, Romano, Garrett, Davis, etc…. to have around.

    • The Duke

      Except the Reds haven’t had a 100 loss season in the past 30+ years, so you can’t really say avoid 100 losses again. The Reds have a bevy of an talent in AAA and waiting 2-3 weeks in a year where we aren’t competing for a ring anyway before we start giving them good experience isn’t the worst thing in the world.

    • The Duke

      Fister likely starts all year. I’d rather roll with Arroyo or Adleman so that come May/June we’re getting our young arms major league starts with that extra year already secured.

    • Wes

      I don’t want to use funds designated to other places but if signing fister fits our budget I love it! He’s got strailey potential. If he has a good first 1/2 and I’m contending and need a back of rotation starter- I would trade for fister.

  7. Patrick

    Looks like he destined for 60 day DL so roster spot for Arroyo or someone else like Fister or waiver wire to be brought in for the rotation.

  8. Tom

    I predicted this the day I heard that the Reds were “taking it easy” with DeSclafani. “A little tightness” almost always means that the guy’s arm is worse than they either think or let on. If there’s a team with worse luck with pitchers I sure like to know who it is. I hope Disco can come back this year, but if history is any indication, he’ll come back in a month, still feel “a little discomfort,” which will turn into a stay on the 60-day, followed by “there’s more damage than we thought.” I hope I’m wrong.

  9. Jordan Barhorst

    Sit him. We don’t gain anything in 2017 by forcing our best pitcher back early. He’s still young, under team control for a while, not banging down the door for an extension. Let’s learn from the past – let some of the young guys prove their mettle.

  10. CP

    Does anyone think Disco going to the DL will be enough for the FO to consider giving Lorenzen a chance to move back to the starting rotation? The benefits would be to only expose players to lost service time that would be in our bullpen, versus the more expensive cost of exposing those of the likes of Amir Garret and Romano that would be SP’s in the future hopefully. Plus the added benefit of seeing if they have something greater in Lorenzen than a power arm in the back of the bullpen (not that he isn’t valuable serving in that role).

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think it’s going to change their mind about Lorenzen at all.

  11. Philer Up

    Let the young arm have a chance, they seem pretty poised to me and you never know what can happen with the right coaches. Quit trying to find that player in the 1st round of the draft. They have done better in the drafts later rounds except for Senzel. Garrett and Romano were 22nd and 23rd rounders and look how that’s turning out. Stephenson, Travieso, Howard,were all 1st rounders and haven’t paned out yet. Garrett and Romano look MLB ready.

    • Doug Gray

      Garrett and Romano were paid huge money. You can’t do that anymore. If you want top talent, you pay for it (just like they did with those two guys). These days the only way to pay the talent is to draft it early.

      You know that I am a big proponent of paying the minor league guys more. But for the Reds, it would be flat out stupid to sacrifice an entire year in the future when you can have it by simply calling up Garrett, Romano or Davis on April 20th this year, or you can not have that season by giving them two starts before then. I hate that the baseball world is handled that way, but until it changes (and I really hope that it does in both the minor league pay and the way you can play with the service time on just two weeks of a season), the Reds need to think about and consider those things.

      • Philer Up

        I’m not talking about the money, because Garrett got good money, but just like Romano they came in the 22nd and 23rd rounds. Cincinnati took a huge chance on Garrett.

      • Doug Gray

        You can’t separate the round from the money, though. The Reds paid Garrett like a late 1st rounder. There was some risk because they were going to let him keep playing basketball – but they paid him like the high end talent that he’s become. My point is if you’re going to get high caliber talents like that, the only place you’re going to be getting them in in the Top 75 picks and it’s going to cost you seven figures to sign them these days.

        Yeah, some guys develop into better things that you take later on, but generally speaking – you want top talent, you draft it early and you pay for it. Today, you can’t pay for it later in the draft because of how the rules are set up compared to the past.

  12. Cbus

    Yikes this is not good. Reds have now lost their 1, 2 and 4th starters this spring to injuries and trades…Our young arms are talented but expecting them to replace good established major league starters right away is unrealistic, just look at Cody Reed’s stats last year.

    Reds sure seem snake bit with pitching injuries the last few years, is it just a stretch of bad luck or a pattern?

    • Philer Up

      Good defense could help the young arms. If they can keep it in the park, then there could be a play on it.