The Cincinnati Reds pitchers and catchers are going at it in Goodyear. Spring training is underway for those guys, who reported on Tuesday and have had full team workouts over the last two days. Well, almost full. Three players are dealing with injuries among that group.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer provided an update on the injuries for catcher Curt Casali, and right-handed pitchers Matt Bowman and Robert Stephenson.

There are some interesting things about two of these guys. Both Curt Casali and Robert Stephenson are out of options. They have to make the 25-man roster of be placed on waivers. That is unless they are placed on the disabled list. They still can’t be sent to the minors beyond a rehab assignment, and once that time is up will have to join the 25-man roster or be DFA’d. But if neither is quite ready to begin the season, this could buy the organization a little bit of time on roster decisions if they need it.

The injury to Curt Casali could also be an open invitation for a guy like Rule 5 Draft Pick Connor Joe, who will work out as a catcher this spring. It may be an opening for a guy like Kyle Farmer, who came over in the trade with the Dodgers. The report says that Casali should be ready on time for the season. But until it’s late in March, you never know how it’ll play out. This could be especially important for Joe, who has to stick to the 25-man roster all season. Any little edge that he can have will be big for keeping him around.

For Matt Bowman, he has options and could head to the minors. And that would seem like it was likely the case to begin with. Despite having a lot of success with St. Louis in both 2016 and 2017 (he struggled in 2018 as he dealt with a health issue), it wasn’t easy to see how he had a strong path to a roster spot in the bullpen. As many Reds fans have seen over the last decade, lat strains can be a real issue for a pitcher. We don’t know the severity in this case, but whenever I happen to hear it all that I can think of is Johnny Cueto missing so much time with his.

There was also one more injury related update. Alex Blandino is recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered in July of 2018. The infielder may be cutting it close to being ready to begin the year. John Fay noted that David Bell said “He’s borderline on whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day.”

With the ability to play third, second, and shortstop, it would be big for the Reds if Alex Blandino were ready. The team currently looks like it may be without a backup shortstop if he’s not. At least as far as the 25-man roster goes. The other option would be Blake Trahan. It’s tough to see where he would make the roster. In the last two seasons in the minor leagues he’s got a sub .300 slugging percentage. As a glove-only guy, carrying him on the bench is a stretch.

15 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    Hope Blandin is ready to go,

  2. WVRedlegs

    This doesn’t bode well for Stephenson. He ended last season on the DL with arm issues. He needed to take full advantage of every opportunity he had on a spring training mound this year. I was hoping Derek Johnson could get him straightened out. But if he can’t get on the mound to pitch Johnson can’t help him much. Not getting off to a good start here.
    Looks more and more likely he’ll become a journeyman pitcher. In baseball, when there is an injury that causes lost time for one player, it creates opportunity for another player.
    Come on down Cody Reed.

    • BK

      If Stephenson opens on the DL, the Reds can send him on a 30-day rehab assignment and let him acclimate to the bullpen at AAA. May actually buy him additional time to adjust to a new role.

  3. Matt WI

    Can we make it a thing that there are no injury updates henceforth? Just no more Reds allowed to get injured. If Disco breaks down in again, or Iglesias pops his ligaments, I’m going to need a dark, quiet place for a long time. I’m too excited to see what this team can do to be derailed by injuries… again.

  4. andybado

    Doug, do you think the Reds would release Kemp to clear a roster spot for Connor Joe or Blandino or Stephenson?

    • matthew hendley

      The roster already assumes Blandino is on it. Releasing and eating 25 million dollars on a player that was very productive up until even last year, for a Rule 5 pick or a pitcher that has not shown the ability to throw strikes…absolutely not.

    • Doug Gray

      Not for baseball reasons, no. So unless Matt Kemp does something absolutely insane, he’s not going to get released.

  5. WVRedlegs

    Some interesting tweets by CTrent out in Arizona
    1. “David Bell on his first impressions of Nick Senzel in CF: “This is more than possible”.

    2. “Dick Williams about playing the service clock game on Nick Senzel: “I anticipate putting the best team out there that we can” on Opening Day”

    • JB WV

      Sounds good. If I’m not mistaken, Blandino had a couple tears in his knee; could be awhile for him. Senzel can play center and back up the whole infield: second, short, and third. Shouldn’t want for playing time. Here’s a novel idea: let’s break camp with our best 25.

  6. Eric

    If blandino is still on dl then senzel is backup at ss and starting cf. Can we clone him?

    • Shchi Cossack

      The issue is really not that Senzel will be the starting CF, but the backup SS. If Peraza is injured, then an additional utility SS MUST be added to the 25-man roster. If Blandino is healthy (unlikely for at least April), then it’s not an issue because Blandino simply fills in at SS with Senzel remaining as the backup SS.

      If Blandino is not healthy then Senzel shifts to SS with Schebler and/or Kemp filling a starting OF role. The backup right now would be Blake Trahan and that’s the real issue of problem. If Peraza’s injury is short-term, then everything is still good. Trahan can ride the bench, available for an emergency appearance only at SS.

      If Peraza’s injury is long-term, I don’t think the Reds want Senzel or Trahan starting at SS for extended playing time. (As an aside, getting Senzel extended playing time at SS could be interesting. What happens if he proves the naysayers wrong and puts up an acceptable defensive performance at SS in an extended role at the MLB level?)

      SS is the only position lacking real depth and that extends to an organizational lack of depth at SS.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Oh and regarding the issue of cloning Senzel…

      If the Reds can figure that one out, then do it six times and field a starting defense, sans catcher, making league minimum and competing for ROY and NL all star at seven positions.