Promising Young Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Nick Lodolo Making Long-Awaited Return Saturday

The Cincinnati Reds activated left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo off the injured list Saturday, setting him up for his first MLB start in nearly 12 months.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo (40) delivers in the first inning during a baseball game.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Nick Lodolo (40) delivers in the first inning during a baseball game. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Reds have activated left-handed pitcher Nick Lodolo from the 15-day injured list, the team announced Saturday morning.

Lodolo will serve as the Reds' starter against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. In order to make room for the lefty on the big league roster, Cincinnati optioned right-handed pitcher Carson Spiers to Triple-A Louisville.

This will mark Lodolo's first MLB appearance since May 6, 2023, after which he was diagnosed with left calf tendinosis. An MRI eventually revealed that Lodolo had suffered a stress reaction in his tibia, which landed him on the 60-day injured list.

While he made progress in his recovery throughout the summer, even making a few rehab starts in the minors, Lodolo ultimately suffered a setback and did not pitch again in 2023.

Lodolo returned to the mound for Cactus League play at Spring Training, but still opened 2024 on the injured list. His rehab went smoother the second time around, though, and he was cleared to return to the roster two weeks into the season.

Lodolo made his MLB debut in 2022, going 4-7 with a 3.66 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.5 WAR across 19 starts. He finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting, and he entered 2023 as a key member of Cincinnati's rotation.

Through his first three starts, Lodolo looked like the same promising young pitcher he was the prior season. He was 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings as of April 17, 2023.

Lodolo went 0-1 with a 10.38 ERA in his next four starts, however, and he was unable to make up for the lackluster performances as a result of his leg injury.

Now, 12 months later, Lodolo has a chance to get back on track. The 26-year-old southpaw was once a first round pick and top-50 prospect in baseball, after all.

First pitch for Saturday's afternoon contest between the Reds and White Sox is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. ET. Lodolo will be facing off against Garrett Crochet, who has been one of the best young pitchers in baseball this season since making his MLB debut on Opening Day.

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Sam Connon

SAM CONNON

Sam Connon is a Staff Writer for Fastball on the Sports Illustrated/FanNation networks. He previously covered UCLA Athletics for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Bruins, 247Sports' Bruin Report Online, Rivals' Bruin Blitz, the Bleav Podcast Network and the Daily Bruin, with his work as a sports columnist receiving awards from the College Media Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Connon also wrote for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's New England Patriots site, Patriots Country, and he was on the Patriots and Boston Red Sox beats at Prime Time Sports Talk.