The Cincinnati Reds have recalled top pitching prospect Robert Stephenson, and he'll get the nod to pitch tonight against the Colorado Rockies in the second game of the series. It'll be Bob's second start with the Reds, and he'll return to take the mound in lieu of Alfredo Simon, who's apparently dealing with a biceps issue.
#reds announce Stephenson to start tonight. Simon has biceps tendinitis but should make next start. Roster move TBA.— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) April 19, 2016
Stephenson got a spot-start against the Philadelphia Phillies in the season's third game thanks in large part to the long list of injuries plaguing his pitching peers, and that appears to be the case yet again today. Backed by a strong offense, Bob picked up the win that day, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) in 5 IP, with a pair of walks and just a single strikeout. He then returned to AAA Louisville and was much more his usually effective self, tossing 6 innings and allowing just 2 runs (1 earned), striking out 7 against just a lone walk against the Toledo Mud Hens.
As mentioned in Mark Sheldon of MLB.com's tweet above, there'll need to be a roster move made since it appears Simon will stay with the club and hopefully make his next start. Stephenson's already on the 40-man roster, of course, so it doesn't necessarily mean someone's getting DFA'd, and we could simply see someone with options sent back to Louisville as the never-ending pitching shuffle continues. So, stay tuned for that news.
Finally, the biggest nugget in all of this is Stephenson's service time issue, since there's little real reason for the Reds to waste a year of his team control when the team itself isn't yet going anywhere. Fortunately, that threshold has already been reached, so even if he sticks with the team for the rest of the season, they'll have team control of him for a full 6 years beyond 2016, as Jamie Ramsey notes.
Stephenson is currently 168 days from qualifying for a full season on the 25-man roster (172). #Reds get 6 years of "control."— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) April 19, 2016
Stephenson was scheduled to be the starter tonight for Louisville, so he's working on normal rest. He'll get the chance to tangle with the most dingerrific offense in all of baseball as his prize.
Welcome back, Bob Steve.
UPDATE [3:05 PM ET]
The Reds have optioned Jumbo Diaz to AAA Louisville as the corresponding move.
To make room on the roster for RHP Robert Stephenson, who will start tonight vs Col, the Reds have optioned to Louisville RHP Jumbo Diaz.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 19, 2016
Best of luck to Jumbo as he tries to figure out his HR issues. I'm sure we'll see him back with the Reds at some point again this season.