In the late night hours following Thursday’s rainy, extra-innings loss to the Baltimore Orioles, we found out that yet another Cincinnati Reds pitcher had been bitten by the injury bug. Tony Cingrani, it seems, felt a pain in his side during his final pitch on Tuesday, and when the soreness didn’t dissipate, he had it checked out - and the checking revealed an oblique injury that landed him on the 10-day DL, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon.
Surprise postgame: oblique injury puts Cingrani on 10 day DL #reds didn't name who was taking his place— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) April 21, 2017
Sheldon's follow-up article included some quotes from manager Bryan Price, including the lovely news that "it's probably anything from four to eight weeks and sometimes worse," which is about as inspiring as watching the last vestiges of Jason Marquis or Kevin Gregg take the mound. Anthony DeSclafani - already on the team's DL next to Cingrani with an elbow injury this time - dealt with an oblique injury that sapped over 2 full months of his 2016 season, and if Cingrani's injury is anything akin to that, he could well miss a huge chunk of the rest of this year.
Though it may still seem that Cingrani's a fresh face with the Reds, the reality is that he's in a pretty pivotal year in his career. He was arbitration eligible for the first time in 2017, and landed a $1.825 million contract for the season despite owning just an 86 ERA+ and 1.528 WHIP in 159.2 IP over his three previous seasons. Given how arbitration salaries work, he'll stand to command a raise on that number going forward, and if this injury prevents him from effectively showing that he's improved from those previous year numbers, it could well land him in potential non-tender territory for 2018. (Not to mention, this adds to the laundry list of injuries and ailments he's faced throughout his first few seasons in the bigs.)
To Cingrani's credit, he'd begun to show ample value that would certainly keep him in the 2018 plans with his start to 2017, boasting a 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 5.00 K/BB through his first 5 appearances.
As for the Reds, their already beleaguered staff just lost another versatile arm, with Cingrani joining DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Rookie Davis, Nick Travieso, and Nefi Ogando as DL'd arms on the 40-man roster. Factor in that non-roster guys who would've potentially factored into the mix like Zach Weiss and Jon Moscot have already been shelved for the year - and that rosteree Austin Brice is essentially working his way back on a rehab-like schedule - and the depth of the team's system is being tested early on.
No replacement for Cingrani has been named yet, although one surely will prior to the start of the series with the Chicago Cubs on Friday evening. Barrett Astin, who has already been shuffled between the big leagues and AAA a time or five this year, seems the likely reliever to replace Cingrani, which would leave Wandy Peralta as the only lefty reliever for a time while Cody Reed returns to the rotation.
When asked for comment, Cingrani simply replied: