Things haven’t exactly gone well for the Cincinnati Reds in the last 28 hours. Saturday morning the team announced that Matt Davidson tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the injured list. He played the night before. Then the Reds got a great start from Luis Castillo only to see the bullpen give up five runs in the last three innings to lose to the Tigers. This morning Mike Moustakas was scratched from the lineup because he wasn’t feeling well and didn’t come to the ballpark. Shortly after 12:30pm it was announced he was placed on the injured list. Taking his place on the roster will be catcher Tyler Stephenson, who will be making his Major League debut if and when he gets into a game.
This is a big blow for the Cincinnati Reds, who were counting on Mike Moustakas as a staple in the middle of their lineup. Hopefully he’s going to recover quickly and be fine. Until he is able to return, though, we may see a lot of Josh VanMeter at second base for the Reds. VanMeter, like Moustakas, is a left-handed hitter. Unlike Moustakas, though, the Reds in the past have been a little more willing to sit him against left-handed pitching. We’ll have to see how that plays out moving forward – perhaps Kyle Farmer or Christian Colon can fill in there as the right-handed hitting option on those days.
With all of that said, we do not know yet if Mike Moustakas has tested positive for COVID-19. A player does not require a positive test to be placed on that injured list, only needing to show symptoms. This could be valuable if it’s something else that Moustakas is dealing with as this injured list has no length required to stay on it. We’re all going to have to be in wait-and-see mode for this one.
For Tyler Stephenson, he may be serving as the backup catcher for a day or two until Tucker Barnhart returns from paternity leave. He and his wife added to their family last night, and according to his twitter feed – everyone is healthy. Stephenson, the Reds 1st round pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft, is in the big leagues for the first time. If and when he enters a game he will be making his Major League debut.
Last season saw Tyler Stephenson spend his entire season in Double-A playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts. The Reds #3 overall prospect hit .285/.372/.410 on the season for the Lookouts in 89 games played. He then went out to the Arizona Fall League where he tore up the league in his 14 games played – including the Fall Stars Game – where he hit .353/.421/.549 with seven doubles, a homer, and five walks with just seven strikeouts.