Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani suffered a UCL sprain in his right elbow and will be sidelined for up to four weeks, according to Mark Sheldon MLB.com and Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The right-handed pitcher won't require surgery on the injury, however, though team doctor Timothy Kremchek said the injury was similar to one suffered by Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen last season, per Buchanan.
Lorenzen ultimately missed three months after suffering his injury, though a bout with mononucleosis also added time to his recovery.
As Sheldon reported, DeSclafani was scratched from his Cactus League start on Monday after experiencing tenderness in the right elbow. He had also experienced soreness in late February but had been cleared by doctors on March 2.
"It definitely makes you upset for sure," pitcher Brandon Finnegan told Sheldon. "It sucks. I want him to be healthy. I want him to start the season with us. It definitely makes me angry."
It's the second year in a row that injuries have affected DeSclafani to start the season. Last year, a strained left oblique cost him the first two months of the season. He ultimately had a strong campaign, however, finishing 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 105 strikeouts in 123.1 innings pitched over 20 starts.
That left him as the presumed Opening Day starter this season, although those plans are now out the window.
"All it does is heighten the need for some of these young starters to take advantage of this opportunity, and challenge to make the club," manager Bryan Price told Sheldon. "[They need to] be able to give us some competitive innings. It is time for some step-up performances, for sure."
Certainly, the rotation is a major question mark for the Reds, with Finnegan and Scott Feldman the only definite locks for the rotation following injuries to DeSclafani and Homer Bailey.
Lorenzen could be switched from the bullpen back to the starting rotation, while prospects like Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson and pitchers such as Tim Adleman, Lisalverto Bonilla and Bronson Arroyo will be considered, as Sheldon noted.
Additionally, prospects like Sal Romano, Rookie Davis and Luis Castillo—previously not considered prime candidates for a spot in the rotation this year—could be thrown in the mix as well.
And the Reds may not be done making moves, either.
"We are always very opportunistic, whether it’s the free agent market, whether it’s the waiver wire," general manager Dick Williams told Buchanan. "We’re always looking and trying to build depth and trying to make contingency plans. We’ll continue to be aggressive there."