CINCINNATI — Abel De Los Santos was surprised and saddened in mid-July when the Washington Nationals placed him on waivers, a place where any team that wanted him could claim him and take him out of limbo.
And fortunately for the 23-year-old right handed relief pitcher, the Cincinnati Reds wanted him. With the state of the Reds bullpen this season any breathing, moving, warm-bodied pitcher is worth a look.
So on July 19 the Reds claimed him and dispatched him to Class AA Pensacola and he put up decent numbers, numbers good enough so that he earned a trip to Cincinnati to join the ever-expanding bullpen.
THE REDS ALSO SELECTED the contract of right handed relief pitcher Matt Magill from Class AAA Louisville and dropped him into the bullpen, too.
De Los Santos appeared in 17 games for Pensacola over 23 1/3 innings and he compiled a 1.54 earned run average with a 1-and-2 record, walking seven and striking out 25.
When Pensacola’s season ended and the Reds already had made several call-ups, De Los Santos was ready to go home to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and he said, “I already had my ticket back to the Dominican when the season was over, but they told me, ‘Hey, man, change your ticket and flight. You’re going to Cincinnati.’ It was a really nice surprise.”
IT WAS NOT A NICE SURPRISE when the Nationals let him go and he said, “I felt really sad because I thought I was doing a reallyo good job. When they put me on waivers, I felt sad, but I said, ‘OK, one team is going pick me and from that I will work my way to the big leagues again.’”
It was his seventh year in the minors when the Nationals put him into his first major league game this year. He appeared twice and was 0-and-0 with a 5.40 earned run average over 1 2/3 innings. He gave k\up one run and two hits, incuding a home run, walking one and striking out three.
His numbers at Pensacola was spiffy enough for the Reds to see what they might have.
“I tried to be better every day after the Reds picked me up,” he said. “I’ve been trying to work on small details to be better every day for this organization, which is giving me a chance to be in the big leagues. I’ve just been throwing strikes, trying to get people out. I’ve just tried to throw the ball low in the zone and that’s it. Don’t throw it high.”
THAT SOUNDS AWFULLY SIMPLISTIC, but that’s what members of the Reds bullpen have tried to do all season and not too successfully.
“I’m looking forward to seeing De Los Santos because I haven’t seen him before,” said manager Bryan Price. “Our reports since we got him have been excellent. He is keeping his fastball down and has a really good curveball. He competes well and participated on a playoff team (Pensacola). No matter what level, pitching in the playoffs gives you some expereience in games that matter. And he has a couple of major league outings. This just gives us a chance to assess him earlier than if he was just coming to spring training.”
MAGILL WAS ACQUIRED AFTER the 2015 season from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade involving outfelder Chris Heisey, but Magill encountered elbow problems and underwent Tommy John surgery. The Reds took him off their 40-man roster after the elbow problems, but rather than sign with another team Magill elected to stay in the Reds system with Class AAA Louisville.
He was a starter for the Dodgers and was 0-and-2 over six starts in 2013 in the majors, but he worked out of the bullpen at Louisville and was 4-and-1 with a 4.46 ERA in 29 appearances over 42 1/3 innings.
“He missed a lot of time with the elbow, but he has a big arm with a fastball, two breaking pitches and a changeup,” said Price. “He was a guy we’ve been hoping to see this year, but we’ve been cautious because he is coming off surgery. He came back to us as a guy we took off the roster and he agree to come back and sign with us and this is kind of a nice reward for a guy who stuck it out with us when he could have gone someplace else.”
WHILE THEY SAY BILLY HAMILTON is feeling better, there is still soreness in his left oblique. He remained in Cincinnati while the Reds won three of four games in Pittsburgh but was unable to do any baseball drills back in Cincinnati.
“He didn’t do anything because the soreness is still in there and we won’t be having him do anything that involves trunk-related twisting and rotational stuff until that soreness is out of there.”
HOMER BAILEY IS SCHEDULED to throw in the bullpen Tuesday, “And that will give us a better idea on how he rebounds from that to see if it is realistic to be able to get him ready for another start or two before the season is over.”
ZACK COZART WAS NOT IN Monday’s lineup and Price said, “His knee has been acting up a little big recently and there is no reason at this point to have him try to battle through it.”
WE ARE DOWN TO OUR LAST few dollars in Ray’s gas fund and it looks as if we might not be able to travel to Cincinnati more than a couple of more times with eight round trips remaining — unless a few of you can find a few bucks to contribute.
Ray and I are so appreciative of all of you who have contributed this year, been so generous so that we were able to cover most of the home games this year and give you some inside stuff from the clubhouse. We’d love to finish, but understand how tough it is to follow this team this year. But if any of you want to help us finish the season, you can go to halmccoy.com and click on the GoFundMe icon on the home page and donate a few bucks.
And again, thanks so very, very much to those who have been so generous this year. We deeply appreciate it and we had fun doing it.