CHICAGO – Luis Cessa received a call from New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman around midnight Wednesday and was anxious to hear the urgent news.
Cessa, a right-handed reliever, was headed to the Cincinnati Reds in a trade. It was bittersweet news. He wished he had a chance to say goodbye to his Yankees teammates, but he was needed in Chicago for the next Reds game, but he was excited for his new opportunity. So excited that it was hard to sleep afterward.
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“I checked the MLB app for the Cincinnati Reds, what are they doing, checking the roster, the results, the standings, everything,” he said. “I came in (Wednesday) and everybody is on the same page. I try to do my best with the team.”
Cessa was one of the three relievers the Reds added ahead of Friday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, along with teammate Justin Wilson and Colorado’s Mychal Givens. Cessa was a middle reliever for the Yankees and having the best year of his career with a 2.82 ERA in 38 1/3 innings.
One of the reasons why he was pumped to join the Reds is he knew he’d receive more opportunities in high-leverage situations. He rarely pitched when the team was winning late in games because the Yankees have one of the league’s top bullpens.
“I thought in my career for the future, maybe not this year, but next year, I need to stay away from the Yankees and look for other opportunities with other teams, so I think it’s better I’ve been traded to the Cincinnati Reds,” Cessa said. “It’s a new page. Everything is going to be new. For sure, just try to be ready and do my best when they give me the opportunity to pitch.”
Cessa passed his first test with his new team, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning with a four-run lead Wednesday in the Reds’ 8-2 victory against the Cubs.
“In my personal opinion, you need to do your job when you’re pitching and don’t think about the results,” he said. “For sure, you try to do a good job, but don’t think about it too much because it’s baseball and you need to stay day to day. Today is a game and tomorrow is another game. Don’t think in tomorrow when you’re thinking about today.”
WELCOME WILSON: Wilson joined his sixth organization in his 10-year big-league career when he was traded to the Reds on Wednesday.
“It wasn't that much of a shock to me,” he said. “Luckily, I'm with Cessa as well, me and him can roll together. We're both excited to be here. We both just want to pitch and contribute.”
Wilson had a 7.50 ERA in 21 appearances with the Yankees this year. Part of the Yankees’ motivation for the trade was to shed Wilson’s salary as they attempt to remain under the $210 million luxury tax.
He missed a month with a hamstring injury this year and didn’t pitch in high-leverage situations when he returned.
“In New York, when I struggled, I didn't get as many opportunities, but I was hurt and coming off the IL so that's kind of part of it,” Wilson said. “It's understandable, you know? This is a business as much as it's a game.
“I felt like I could pitch through my hamstring, but my stuff kind of took a real hit and wasn't making guys miss when usually I got a foul ball or whatnot. Since I've come back healthy, I've noticed my stuff increase a little bit and it's been a lot better.”
INJURY UPDATES: When Michael Lorenzen injured his hamstring in his season debut July 17, it was natural to assume the worst. Even Lorenzen did when he limped off the field.
Now he could rejoin the Reds’ bullpen as early as this weekend for the road series against the New York Mets. Lorenzen has thrown multiple bullpen sessions in the past week.
“Just amazing how fast he’s healed,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It says so much about him, his body and how he takes care of himself. He has a chance to be back way sooner than I expected, anyone expected.”
Lorenzen doesn’t need to pitch in a rehab game because of how quickly he healed from his injury.
• Nick Senzel has traveled with Triple-A Louisville this week and he is scheduled to play in his first rehab game Friday in Iowa.
He’s expected to play at least one game at shortstop during his rehab assignment, in addition to center field, because he will likely split time in the outfield and infield when he returns to the big-league club.
• Mike Moustakas could begin a rehab assignment as early as next Tuesday with Louisville. He’s regularly taken batting practice this week, fielded grounders at third base and he ran the bases before Thursday’s game at Wrigley Field.
“He’s passing all the tests,” Bell said. “I expect him to be playing games in Triple-A. I don’t know how many it’ll be, but at least a few games after their off day on Monday. If everything keeps moving forward, that would be the plan.”
• Tejay Antone will likely return after Lorenzen and Lucas Sims, who already began his rehab assignment, but he’s beginning to ramp up toward a return. Antone threw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, which went well. It was his first bullpen since he went on the 10-day injured list on June 26.
MOVING ON UP: Kyle Farmer hit third in the Reds’ lineup Thursday, the first time in his career he’s hit above fifth.
Farmer entered the game with a .379 batting average and a .453 on-base percentage in 75 plate appearances this month.
“With Nick (Castellanos) out of the lineup, to have a right-handed bat in between Jesse and Joey is important,” Bell said. “I’d like to keep Joey in the spot he’s in and Kyle Farmer has been swinging the bat as well as anyone. Really liked the possibility.”