Disco is back! DeSclafani finally ready for season debut
CINCINNATI -- Disco is back.
Not the musical genre popular of the 1970s, but Cincinnati Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, nicknamed "Disco" by teammates.
DeSclafani, an integral part of the team's rebuilding efforts, makes his season debut Friday night against the Oakland Athletics. He is finally recovered from an oblique injury he sustained in spring training.
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Ohio
"We've talked about all this rebuild stuff, but all we've really done is deconstruct to this point," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "DeSclafani is part of the rebuild. He's a building bock toward rebuilding this pitching staff."
In 31 starts which led all National League rookies last year, DeSclafani went 9-13 with a 4.05 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 184 2/3 innings.
The 26-year old was penned into the Reds' starting rotation before straining his left oblique in his final spring training start. DeSclafani made two minor league rehab starts in April, but was shut down for nearly a month because of discomfort.
Heading into Friday night's interleague series opener against Oakland, DeSclafani said the oblique is a non-issue.
"I don't even think about it," he said. "I had three rehab starts and a couple bullpens in between and I'm throwing 100 percent. My pitches are sharp for the most part. I think I'm good to go."
Cincinnati is banking on its other injured starters Homer Bailey, Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen to return later this month or -- in the case of Bailey -- early July.
"It was definitely hard to watch when they (starting) rotation struggled," DeSclafani said. "It is hard for everyone and you want to contribute. It will be nice to join them."
Opposing DeSclafani is right-hander Sonny Gray, who is also coming back from injury. Gray was reinstated from the disabled list Sunday and earned a no-decision with one earned run and five hits allowed in five innings of the Athletics' 5-2 loss at Houston. Gray faces Cincinnati for the first time in his career.
Oakland (25-34) has fared well in interleague play, posting a winning record in 12 of the past 19 seasons including four straight. The Athletics are 191-154 all-time against NL opponents, the fourth-best mark in the majors.
Cincinnati is 6-10 all-time versus Oakland, including 2-0 at Great American Ball Park. The teams haven't met since 2013, when they split the season series 2-2.
There's some postseason history between the two clubs, however. The Reds swept heavily favored Oakland in the 1990 World Series while losing to them in seven games in the 1972 Series.
Both clubs sit in last place in their divisions. The Reds dropped two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals while the Athletics have lost five straight.
"We still feel good about this team; it's been a frustrating five days so far," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said.
Things are looking up for the Reds, who are fortunate to have DeSclafani back on the mound Friday.
"Long time coming," Price said. "He was such a big part of our rotation last year and he was scheduled to be our opening day starter this year. It's good. He's put in a lot of hard work."