Antone hits IL, confident in quick return

CINCINNATI — The Reds sustained a huge blow to their bullpen Friday when right-handed reliever Tejay Antone was placed on the 10-day injured list with right forearm inflammation. The move is retroactive to Tuesday, which means Antone is eligible to be activated next Friday.

“I’m very confident that he’s going to be back whenever his first day of eligibility to come off is. Very confident,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It’s something that we just want to make sure we stay ahead of. It was never anything that’s kept him from pitching or was that concerning, but it did get to a point where it just made the most sense to be ahead of it — for our season, for his career. It’s what we would do for any of our players.”

Antone, 27, has a 1.41 ERA and three saves in 20 appearances this season while emerging as Cincinnati’s most important relief asset in big situations. In 32 innings, he has walked 11 batters and struck out 40, while using a strong curveball and a sinker capable of touching 100 mph.

Even with Antone enjoying a sterling season, Cincinnati’s bullpen is ranked last in the Majors with a 5.88 ERA and 39 home runs allowed.

Bell will have to hope some of his other relievers can step up in Antone’s absence.

“We just continue to put a lot of thought into putting guys into a position to succeed –…

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