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.
Curt Casali had left hip surgery to repair the labrum. Bell: “He’s going to be on time for the season, but for spring training games, he’s going to be a little delayed.”
—RHP Matt Bowman is dealing with a lat strain.
—RHP Robert Stephenson has right shoulder inflammation #reds
— John Fay (@johnfayman) February 14, 2019
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.