With the news that Joey Votto is going to miss several weeks at the very least as he recovers from a broken thumb, the potential return of Shogo Akiyama from the injured list could help the Reds make a few easier roster decisions.
Cincinnati hasn’t made a decision yet on how they will fill the first base position in Joey Votto’s absence, but with Thursday being an off day they don’t need to announce that move immediately. They can use the day to discuss all of their available options. A few of those options may involve outfielders moving to the infield, which of course would make bringing Shogo Akiyama back from his rehab assignment in Louisville fit in perfectly.
The minor league season just began on Tuesday, so in terms of stats we can look at, we’ve only got two rehab games for Shogo Akiyama. But he did play in a few exhibition games before the Triple-A season began when he was playing with Louisville when they were still the alternate site club. In the two games since the minor league season began he’s gone 1-9 and his one hit was an infield hit.
When it comes to the hamstring, Shogo Akiyama looks healthy. He’s had to sprint more than a few times on the base paths and he’s looked fast and like there was nothing at all holding him back. As a hitter, he’s struck out three times in his nine trips to the plate. The timing may not quite be there yet, or perhaps he just had one of those days – all three of his strikeouts did come last night.
Hunter Greene’s Double-A debut
Last night saw Hunter Greene, the Reds top prospect, make his Double-A debut for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Two hits in the first inning led to an earned run, but after that he settled in and allowed just one hit – a single into shallow center – the next four innings. Greene topped out at 102.6 MPH and struck out eight batters without a walk on 71 pitches in 5.0 innings. Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com we wrote about the start in more detail if you wanted a deeper dive.
Greene wasn’t the only Top 10 pitching prospect that got out to a strong start this season. In Triple-A Louisville Tony Santillan struck out seven batters without a walk and only an unearned run on his record in 4.0 innings.
Down in Florida the Daytona Tortugas have been playing in Palm Beach against the Cardinals affiliate. Centerfielder Allan Cerda is having himself a good time being back on the baseball field and he’s been taking it out on the Palm Beach pitchers. The 21-year-old is 4-8 with a double, triple, home run, and two walks through two games.
Taking a quick look at the Dayton Dragons – the new High-A affiliate this year – they are 2-0 on the season and have been fueled by dominant pitching. They’ve held the Great Lakes Loons to a .088 average through two games – that’s 5-57 for those keeping track at home. And they’ve complimented that pitching with a team line of .294/.422/.485 at the plate with 15 walks and 7 extra-base hits.