By HAL McCOY
Sonny Gray pitched seven strenuous but solid innings Wednesday afternoon in Kansas City.
A few hours later, he landed on the injured list with a rib cage strain.
With the All-Star break coming up after a four-game series in Milwaukee, Gray was not scheduled to pitch before the break.
By placing Gray on the injured list, the Reds were able to recall Tony Santillan from Class AAA Louisville and place him in the bullpen.
“It’s something that he has dealt with at different points of the season,” said manager David Bell. “He felt it again, actually before his start Wednesday. He was able to pitch through it.
“I do think it is smart to get it evaluated and take at least the 10 days between yesterday and his next start. And hopefully that’s all it is, exactly 10 days and that’s what I’m planning for (for his next start after the break, unless we get a different report” Bell added.
“He gives me a lot of confidence the way he is feeling, that he can get back,” said Bell. “He is already talking about that himself and that’s a good sign.”
After his seven innings against Kansas City Wednesday, Gray made no mention of any discomfort, other than a bundle of early nerves.
“I feel good, I feel good where I’m at,” he said after the the game. “Today was a step forward, being able to go deeper into the game.
“For me, I have to just do a real good job of taking care of myself on and off the field,” he added. “I need to stay on the field. I’ve been doing a real good job of that and it is a focal point for me. My body feels OK.
“It will be nice to have a break and reset again and come back and hopefully stay on the field the second half and continue to just pitch.”
Gray then appeared on a Zoom interview Thursday before the opening game of the four-game series with Milwaukee.
He was asked why he didn’t mention his rib cage during his post-game interview and he said, “Nothing came up, because nobody asked. I talk about it a little bit when I talked about taking care of myself, taking care of my body and getting ready for the second half.
“It was something I was managing throughout the game,” he added. “So we have some time now that I need to take advantage of. It’s just a little spot, not too big of a deal.”
Gray said he will not miss a start after the break
“Where I sit right now, when my turn becomes available, I’l be able to play,,” he said.
Santillan originally was called up from Louisville as starter, then was sent down to learn the nuances of working out of the bullpen
“We did send Tony out to transition to the bullpen,” said Bell. “Ideally he would have more time to do that. But he is already built up from being a starter. We’ll use him as a way to provide innings. It was planned to get him back as a reliever and it happened quicker than we thought.”
And there is other pitching news involving Jeff Hoffman and Michael Lorenzen, both on the edge of returning off the injured list.
“Hoffman is ready to go,” said Bell. “We’re planning on activating him, but it doesn’t make any sense to do it until after the All-Star break.”
That’s because there is no room at the inn. He is a starter and the rotation is full with Gray, Luis Castillo, Wade no Miley, Tyler Mahle and Vladimir Guerrero.
“As far as role goes for Hoffman, no final determination has been made,” said Bell. “He is a guy we want as one of our 13 or 14 pitchers on our staff. We just have to get through this weekend.”
And it looks as if Loreznen, on the injured list all season, will return after the break and join the suddenly overcrowded bullpen.
“Unless something unexpected happens in the next couple of days, in the interest of Michael, our team and the entire season, we’ll let him stay back to get a couple of outings. Then when he comes back next Friday (for the resumption of the season), there will be no limitations,” said Bell. “He can get fully built-up during the All-Star break and we’ll all be better off.”