Reds top prospect Hunter Greene out for season

Hunter Greene
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Reds right-hander Hunter Greene is out for the season after suffering a UCL sprain in his right elbow, the team announced Friday. He was placed on Single-A Dayton’s disabled list and is expected to begin rehab at the Reds’ facility in Goodyear, Arizona, though it’s not yet clear what timetable has been set for his return to the mound.

Greene, 18, was ranked no. 2 in the Reds’ system by MLB Pipeline this year. An infielder-turned-full-time-pitcher, the right-hander was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft and pitched to a 3-7 record in 18 starts at Single-A, carrying a 4.48 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 11.7 SO/9 through 68 1/3 innings. This appears to be the first major setback of his professional career to date, and hopefully one that won’t jeopardize his future going forward.

The team gave no indication of the severity of the sprain, though it doesn’t appear to be pointing the righty toward Tommy John surgery — at least for the time being. While it looks like the Reds will take every precaution to get Greene back on track, manager Jim Riggleman told reporters that he wasn’t surprised to see the talented young pitcher felled by the injury: “You almost figure it’s gonna happen,” he said. “It happens to so many of them that I’m not in the least bit surprised.”

Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN on opening day

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Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.

Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.

“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”

Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.

Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.

“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.

Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.