The Reds announced Thursday that they have placed right Sonny Gray back on the list for 10 days injured due to a rib cage strain. It’s the third IL stint of the season for Gray, who has just come off a four-week absence due to an inguinal strain. Right Tony Santillan he left Triple-A Louisville in his place.
Cincinnati has not provided a timetable for Gray’s return, although it is possible that, with the All-Star break coming up, the impact of his absence could be minimal. Gray started Wednesday’s game (and pitched pretty well), so he wouldn’t have been in line to make another start before the break though. He will be eligible to return for the Reds ’third game after the break, so it’s technically possible he won’t miss a start.
If the injury proves to be outside of Gray for a few outings, however, it will be a particularly late IL trip. The Reds, winners in 10 of their past 15 games, will be out of the break to host a three-game pivotal series against the division’s top Brewers. They would then take a Mets club to first place before playing a string of seven straight division games (four against the Cubs, three against the Cardinals) in the days leading up to the July 30 deadline. Getting more starts from Gray, who has a 3.19 ERA at 62 frames this year, would obviously be ideal.
The Reds ’recent hot streak brought them back to second place in the Central NL. They’re six back for the Brewers at the moment, making these next seven games particularly important enough for their season. General manager Nick Krall recently he characterized his club as expiring buyers, although one can imagine that it is at least somewhat dependent on how the team behaves in the upcoming seven-game streak against current division leaders.
For now, Santillan will give some depth to the Reds ’staff. All of his four trips to the big league club this season have been initial, but it will give manager David Bell a multi-inning option out of the pen for now, it seems. In 16 2/3 innings of major league work so far, Santillan has allowed seven earned runs (3.78 ERA) on 18 hits and 10 walks with 20 punchouts.