Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero is expected to miss at least six weeks as he deals with a hamate injury in his left hand/wrist as first reported by C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. Barrero, who was expected to compete for the shortstop position this spring with Kyle Farmer, now will be looking at options on how to move forward with the injury. The injury is generally taken care of by removing the hamate bone. It’s a common injury in baseball for some reason. He is set to get a second opinion on the injury on Monday.
This injury is yet another one that’s cropped up around Major League Baseball that had the owners not locked out the players on December 2nd that perhaps could have been taken care of during the offseason. But teams, and by extension team doctors were not allowed to be in contact with players during the lockout, injuries or anything close to it were not relayed to the team. Barrero originally felt something in his wrist during the offseason, but after some rest it seemed to have gotten better. Had this happened when he was able to talk to the team physicians perhaps he would have been checked out and the injury discovered and had it taken care of long before spring training began.
A similar thing happened with Fernando Tatis Jr., who was injured in a motorcycle accident during the offseason and then when the lockout was lifted and he arrived in camp it turned out that he needed surgery and he’s now going to miss several months for an injury that happened in December but wasn’t diagnosed or treated at the time.
While Kyle Farmer seemed to be the favorite at shortstop if you listened to the words of manager David Bell, this injury almost assuredly locks it down that he’s going to be the shortstop to begin the season. The question becomes who backs up Farmer at shortstop at this point. No one else on the 40-man roster is a shortstop. Among the non-roster invitees you’ve got 2021 1st round draft pick Matt McLain and then Miguel Hernandez. Both were extended invites to big league camp after it began. McLain has played 31 professional games and non above High-A. Hernandez, a 22-year-old, has only played in 25 games at the Double-A level and hit .255/.300/.319 in that span. Juniel Querecuto is also a shortstop that was in big league camp, but he’s injured and was also sent back to minor league camp on Sunday prior to the start of the game against San Francisco.
The Reds still have options, though, if they don’t want to rush either Miguel Hernandez or Matt McLain to the big leagues. Trades could be out there and the cost of acquisition for a defense-first backup shortstop shouldn’t be high. The waiver wire during the final few days of spring training is also likely to make available a possible backup shortstop if the team hasn’t yet figured out an exact plan. Newcomer Donovan Solano has limited time at shortstop, but he’s not exactly known for his defense at second or third base where he’s spent a lot more time. Another option could be to simply roll the dice with Alejo Lopez. Historically he’s been a second baseman, and he’s probably not a starting shortstop, but he did play 25 games there this past offseason while in winter ball down in Mexico.