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A strained left oblique plagued DeSclafani in 2016. The nagging injury, suffered in his last spring training start, kept him on the disabled list until June 10. That night he faced the Oakland Athletics in the Reds’ 61st game of the season.
The comeback was delayed by a setback. DeSclafani made a rehab start in Pensacola on April 23 and another in Dayton on April 29 but he felt soreness. The Reds shut him down for a month. The 27-year old made his next rehab start May 25.
DeSclfani came back strong and was 6-0 with a 2.94 ERA in his first 11 starts. He finished the season 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 20 starts, one of which was his first career complete game Aug. 27 against Arizona.
Encouraged by the strong finish, DeSclafani and the Reds anticipated a full year of quality pitching in 2017. That horse didn’t even get out of the gate. He couldn’t even make a start in spring training with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
No surgery was required but DeSclafani spent the year on the disabled list. He had several setbacks with his throwing program. He made his first rehab start in the Arizona Rookie League on July 23 and was transferred to Dayton. Against Fort Wayne, DeSclafani pitched four innings for the Dragons and it looked like he was close to returning. He pitched another game for Dayton at Great Lakes on Aug. 3 but left after nine batters with tendinitis in his right elbow. It was back to resting and re-starting a throwing program. He didn’t pitch again until the Instructional League.
“It was definitely frustrating. It would have been nice to come back for even a little bit last year but it just didn’t work out,” DeSclafani said.
The silver lining for the New Jersey native was that he got close enough to start a normal off-season throwing program.
“I went through all my progressions,” DeSclafani said. “It’s been a year now. Hopefully, I can get myself to have a nice long, pain-free year.”
DeSclafani is moving forward after a lost season. There are no restrictions on him and he is throwing without pain.
“It just wasn’t meant to be last year,” he said. “I feel good now and that’s all I can control.”
Manager Bryan Price put DeSclafani in the rotation after watching an off-season bullpen session. Price named DeSclafani along with Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan and Luis Castillo as the top four in the starting rotation with one spot left to decide in March.
“We are healthy,” Price declared after physicals and a bullpen session Wednesday in rainy Goodyear. “No one is shut down. They are not all in the same place, Amir (Garrett) isn’t running or taking the same PFP (pitchers fielding practice) because he had the hip issue last year. Even Rookie (Davis) is able to throw.”
Davis had hip surgery this winter.