It has certainly been an interesting week for the Cincinnati Reds and Nick Senzel. Late on Thursday the team announced that they had rescinded their option of Senzel to Triple-A and placed him back on the injured list.
How did we get here? Well it all started back when Nick Senzel tore meniscus in his knee in mid-May. He had to undergo surgery to clean things up in there. He wouldn’t get back on the field for 10 weeks, but on July 30th he headed out to join the Triple-A Louisville Bats in Iowa to begin his rehab assignment. He went 1-2 in that first game, but then went 0-8 in the next three games. But the next week he picked up at least one hit in six straight games, hitting .360 with a walk, three doubles, and a triple.
Then on Sunday the team announced that they had activated Nick Senzel from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A. Earlier that day he had been in the Bats lineup, but after the option he was no longer in it. By rule he could take up to 72 hours to officially report to Louisville.
General Manager Nick Krall said this on Sunday:
“Right now if we bring him to the club, who goes down? There’s only so many players that are optionable right now. I think that’s the main factor. He had some flexibility and the guys up here were playing well, so we wanted to keep this group together for right now and keep moving forward.”
Triple-A manager Pat Kelly told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic on Sunday that he believed Senzel was not 100% and was slightly favoring his knee.
The timing was strange because the Reds did not have to activate Nick Senzel on Sunday. He still had three days after that before the team had to make a decision on whether to activate him or call him back off of a rehab assignment and keep him on the injured list. But they did choose to activate him.
You are kind of getting two very different things from the General Manager and the manager of the Louisville Bats with regards to Nick Senzel, his knee, and his health.
With an off day on Monday there was no lineup for Senzel to be in. Then he wasn’t in the lineup on Tuesday. And he wasn’t in the lineup on Wednesday. Thursday was another day and another lineup without Senzel.
Shortly before the game began on Thursday it was announced that the team had called Senzel back to the injured list – essentially making the option non-existent. He had gone and seen multiple doctors and they checked out his knee, finding that there was fluid in there.
Krall addressed the media in Cincinnati before the game. He told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer (among others) this:
“He deemed himself healthy for the five days prior to trying to come back. At the end of (his rehab assignment), he was not healthy. He was trying to push through it and didn’t want to say anything. We had him go see the doctor. He still has fluid in his knee, so he will be just put back on the IL.”
There seems to be plenty of blame to go around here. Nick Senzel reportedly said he was healthy when he wasn’t. The communication between what Pat Kelly was seeing on rehab wasn’t getting to the General Manager. Or maybe everyone involved simply couldn’t get their story straight and stay on the same page. No matter who it’s sliced up, it’s a bit of a mess.
Cincinnati will be sending Nick Senzel to Arizona. He’ll continue rehabbing there at the spring training site. It’s unclear when he will return to the field.