It was just over a week ago that we learned that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani’s throwing elbow wasn’t feeling quite right. Likely because the depths of this deep, dark rebuild, we naturally panicked, but it was later revealed that the tenderness he’d felt in that elbow wasn’t anything serious or structural, and that the Disco Train would be back on its tracks and throwing again soon.
"Soon," it appears, will actually be soon - about a week according to manager Bryan Price, as The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan noted this morning. Unfortunately, it’s that delay that likely means DeSclafani won’t be ready to take the mound for the Reds on Opening Day.
DeSclafani should get in a game in about a week, but Bryan Price said it's unlikely he'll have enough time to stretch out for Opening Day— Zach Buchanan (@ZachENQ) March 5, 2017
The power of 140 character limits on Tweets puts some initial shock value into the news that he won't be the team's Opening Day starter again this year, but that cold chill you got down your spine while reading it doesn't tell the entire story. Buchanan went into greater detail in his Enquirer article, getting insight from both Price and DeSclafani about the nature of the issue, and a read through it should be enough to calm your nerves.
The gist? This year's setback is nothing like the oblique injury that he dealt with last year, the one that saw him repeatedly "close" while also repeatedly seeing his return date kicked deeper and deeper into the season. This year, there is no injury, there's merely a delay in the start of his Spring routine that will cause him to not quite be ready for Game 1.
Games 2, 3, 4, or 5, however, might well be in the cards for Disco, as MLB.com's Mark Sheldon relayed earlier.
It's still frustrating, of course, since Disco has logged some excellent pitching over the previous two seasons, pitching easily effective enough for us to all know he's been the best starter on the staff. And, well, the best starter on the staff deserves to start all Opening Days and Game 1s, since that's just how things should be. That it won't happen again this season is a bummer, but it's also far from the end of the world. Hell, Dan Straily didn't start Opening Day last year, but he still managed to lead the team in innings pitched, sniffed a 200 inning season, and tied for the team's lead in games started - all things that Disco should still be able to accomplish if things proceed accordingly, it should be emphasized.
Given this development, Straily's departure via trade, Homer Bailey's third elbow surgery, and the decision to keep both Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen in the bullpen, it would appear that the path has become a lot clearer for Brandon Finnegan to get this year's Opening Day start, according to my own speculation. In fact, were it to be anyone other than Finnegan or the recently signed Scott Feldman, some serious and unforeseen Cactus League histrionics would have to take place.
Having a first flight delayed long enough that you miss your connection, have to get re-booked to your destination, and end up spending eight hours in a cheap airport hotel is never the most enjoyable thing to have happen. It's annoying, but when you finally get where you were intending to go the next day and still have 99% of your trip ahead of you, that frustration always dissipates quickly. That's the Disco drama we're faced with right now.