Anthony DeSclafani is a lock for the Reds starting rotation and for the first time in a long time is 100 percent healthy, but this spring is about erasing the injury demons of years past.
“It’s been a long journey and a frustrating journey,” said DeSclafani. “I feel like I’ve had the injury bug the last two years. This is my time right now. Hopefully I don’t have to deal with this again.”
For the past two seasons, DeSclafani was tabbed as the Reds opening day starter. An oblique injury in 2016 and an elbow injury in 2017 ruined that moment. The sprained UCL in his right elbow forced him to miss the entire 2017 season.
“I know I can pitch,” DeSclafani said. “I know I can do this again. I’m not nervous. I’m excited. I’m ready to go back out there and prove myself again and show I can be relevant in this game again.”
DeSclafani arrived early for spring training in Goodyear. He left his home in New Jersey and arrived in Arizona on January 22 – a full three weeks before pitchers and catchers were expected to report. He told Fox19 Now he is feeling better than ever. He’s feeling good enough for Reds manager Bryan Price to name DeSclafani as a lock for the starting rotation, along with Homer Bailey and Luis Castillo.
“It means a lot. It’s coming from Price and the front office,” DeSclafani said. “It’s satisfying that they believe in me and it gives me confidence. I feel like when I’m healthy, I’ve pitched good.“
Despite a delayed start in 2016 with his oblique injury, DeSclafani boasted a 3.28 ERA with a 9-5 record through 20 starts. In 2015, he managed a 4.05 ERA in 31 starts. Now it’s about starting something new – staying healthy for an entire season and helping the Reds move past the rebuild.
“There’s a lot of competitive guys in this clubhouse,” DeSclafani said. “You can rebuild all you want, but at some point guys have to have accountability and want to have that desire to win.”
A small win for DeSclafani would be taking the ball on opening day. It would go a long way in helping DeSclafani erase the injury demons of years past.
“It would definitely be great. I’ve had the past two years with what I thought and it would be an honor to take the ball on opening day, but I haven’t been reliable. If I’m not tabbed as the guy for opening day, it’s nobody’s fault other than mine.”
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