Stephenson (neck) was activated off the 10-day injured list Sunday. Stephenson landed on the IL with the neck strain at the end of May and made two rehab appearances with Triple-A Louisville to clear the way for his activation. The 26-year-old has a 3.96 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 35:10 K:BB through 25 innings this season.
Stephenson (neck) will start a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday, C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reports. Stephenson has been on the shelf since May 31 due to a neck strain, but he's set to take a step forward in his rehab process. He'll likely only need a few minor-league appearances prior to being activated considering he's only been on the injured list for 10 days.
Stephenson (2-0) struck out both batters he faced Tuesday night and got the win when the Reds rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Braves. Stephenson continues to impress. His ERA is down to 1.50 and his WHIP down to 0.67, and he has 18 strikeouts against just two walks in 12 innings so far. His velocity and his command have both improved, and his slider in particular has become a huge plus pitch.
Stephenson pitched a scoreless inning in relief of the injured Sonny Gray on Thursday and got the win. Pitching in relief has suited Stephenson well so far in this young season. He has allowed one run over 6.1 innings, striking out eight batters while giving up three hits and a walk. The competition level picks up for Reds pitchers soon, with them embarking on a West Coast road swing.
The Reds informed Stephenson on Tuesday that he would be included on the Opening Day roster, Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Stephenson closed spring training out on a rough note Monday against the Braves by giving up two runs over two innings, but he turned in a clean slate over his prior two appearances in Cactus League play. That ultimately proved to be enough for Stephenson to secure the final available bullpen spot over Matt Wisler, who was reassigned to the minors. Expect Stephenson to work in lower-leverage spots in long relief for as long as he remains on the 25-man roster.