David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Braves reliever Jonny Venters suffered a minor setback during his first live bullpen session on Wednesday. The lefty felt soreness in his elbow due to the increased activity and the Braves cut the session short as a result.
Venters, 29, hasn’t pitched since the end of the 2012 season and underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on May 16 last year. The Braves were hoping to get him back at some point in June. In three seasons with the Braves leading up to the injury, Venters posted a 2.23 ERA with a 258/110 K/BB ratio in 229 2/3 innings.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”
The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.
Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.