The sighs of relief were almost audible Friday around Great American Ball Park.
Magnetic resonance images (MRI) of right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani’s right forearm and elbow revealed tendinitis in his arm with no ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) damage in his elbow.
“The UCL is intact and healthy,” manager Bryan Price said before Friday’s three-game series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals. “The tendinitis diagnosis does not mean this is the end of his season, but it is a setback. If he wouldn’t be throwing for three or four weeks, sure, he’d probably be done, but other than the tendinitis, he’s healthy.
“The thing we need to do is define why he has recurring elbow problems. He’s been rehabbing since basically the first week of spring training, so it’s certainly frustrating.”
DeSclafani, who was limited by a strained left oblique to 20 starts in 2016, hasn’t pitched all season while dealing with a strained ligament in his right elbow. He threw 23 pitches while facing nine batters and getting just out Thursday with the Dayton Dragons in his third rehab start.
“The second pitch, I felt something,” Desclafani said. “The third pitch, I felt it a little more. The fourth pitch, it flared up pretty good. I tried to tell myself, ‘I don’t want to feel this.’ I tried to pitch through it, but there was no sense trying to push through it. There’s a good amount of inflammation. Hopefully, the pain will subside and I can start throwing again.”
“That’s how it works,” Price said. “Tendinitis isn’t something that creeps up on you. When it grabs you, it grabs you. I’ve had it in my shoulder and my elbow, and it’s unbelievably painful.”
The 27-year-old DeSclafani is 18-18 with a 3.74 earned-run average in 51 starts for the Reds since being acquired with minor league catcher Chris Wallach from the Miami Marlins for right-hander Mat Latos on Dec. 11, 2014. He led National League rookies with 31 starts while going 9-13 with a 4.05 ERA in 2014.
He’s trying not to feel sorry for himself.
“I’m not the first person this has happened to, and I won’t be the last,” said DeSclafani, who planned to have the images looked at by a specialist of his choosing. “It’s part of the process. It’s just a setback I’ve got to face and figure out what the problem is. I’m not feeling sorry for myself.
“This whole year has been a mental grind. I just have to deal with it and face it and move on.”
Schebler went on the disabled list Tuesday with a bruised rotator cuff, an injury he suffered earlier in the season while trying to make a diving catch.
“I’m back on some anti-inflammatories,” Schebler said. “It’s something that I’ve been dealing with for a long time. I tried to play through it, but it came back again after the (All-Star) break. It’s just something I need to get through.”
Schebler had been doing rehab work while trying to play through the injury and thought he was making enough progress to back off.
“When I was rehabbing it, it was OK, but it was never great,” he said. “I thought I could play through it. After it came back, we decided that instead of just going with ‘bearable’ for the rest of the season, I would go on the DL and get it back to 100 percent.
“It’s one of those things where the flexibility of my back shoulder was really bad. I don’t think I drove the ball to the opposite field for what seemed like a month. I started pulling everything.”
Schebler had hit .077 since the All-Star break, sending his overall average plummeting from .254 to .228.
“At the end of the day, I blame myself for not saying something earlier,” he said. “I hate seeing the guys struggle. That’s on my shoulders.”
Ventura, a 20-year-old Dominican Republic native, was hitting .294 with one home run, 16 runs batted in and 29 stolen bases in 41 tries for the Single-A Rome (Ga.) Braves. He has hit .301 in 206 career minor league games.