NL Central Notes: Greene, Reds, Stephenson, Pirates, Newman, Frazier, Cubs

The Pirates’ 1-0 win over the Reds today will go down perhaps the most unusual game of the 2022 season, as Pittsburgh won without a single hit.  Reds starter Hunter Greene tossed 7 1/3 innings of hitless ball, but was pulled after 118 pitches and after issuing consecutive walks during the eighth inning.  Reliever Art Warren entered the game and issued another walk, then Ke’Bryan Hayes drove in the game’s only run via a fielder’s choice.  The Reds lineup, meanwhile, was held to only four hits, with Bucs starter Jose Quintana doing much of the work in shutting Cincinnati out over seven innings.

Since the Bucs didn’t need to bat in the bottom of the ninth, the official threshold of nine hitless innings wasn’t met, so Greene and Warren won’t be credited with a no-hitter.  This oddity marks just the sixth time since 1901 that a team has won despite going hitless, and ironically, the Reds were on the other side of the equation in the first such instance.  Back on April 23, 1964, the Reds collected a 1-0 win over the Houston Colt .45s even though Houston’s Ken Johnson held Cincinnati hitless over nine full innings of work — a pair of ninth-inning errors led to the Reds’ only run.

More from around the NL Central…

  • Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson cleared concussion protocol after being hit in the mask with a foul ball during Saturday’s game.  Stephenson didn’t play today but isn’t expected to miss much time, even though the team will be cautious given that Stephenson already missed two weeks with a concussion earlier this season.  Manager David Bell told reporters (including The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith) that the Reds are working with Stephenson on finding new types of masks and padded helmets, and the club is committed to keeping Stephenson behind the plate.  Joey Votto already has first base spoken for anyway, plus Stephenson’s bat is more valuable from the catcher position than at first base.  However, with three concussions already in his career, Stephenson and the Reds can only hope that a position switch doesn’t eventually become a necessity for health reasons.
  • The Pirates hope Kevin Newman can start a minor league rehab assignment this week, Pirates GM Ben Cherington said during his weekly radio show (hat tip to Mike Persak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).  Newman hit the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain on April 27, so the timing of a rehab assignment coincides with the rough 3-5 week timeline initially given for Newman’s recovery.  The veteran shortstop was off to a decent start before hitting the IL, batting .250/.308/.375 (96 wRC+, 98 OPS+) over his first 52 plate appearances.  Rookie Diego Castillo has seen most of the shortstop duties while Newman has been sidelined, but Pittsburgh fans continue to wait for star shortstop prospect Oneil Cruz to get an extended call-up to the majors.
  • In some Cubs-related injury news, Alec Mills will toss a live batting practice session on Tuesday.  (Meghan Montemurro of The Chicago Tribune was among those to report the news.)  Mills has yet to pitch this season due to a lower back strain, and he made one minor league rehab outing before being set back by quad tightness.  David Bote (shoulder surgery) and Clint Frazier (appendectomy) are both expected to start their own rehab assignments within a few days.  Frazier told Montemurro that he believes he’ll need five games to ramp up, which would put him on target to rejoin the Cubs when they begin a series with the Reds on May 23.

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