The Cincinnati Reds are sending two players to Louisville this week to begin rehab assignments. Jonathan India will be joined by Donovan Solano on Tuesday as they join the Triple-A Bats and attempt to get back to Cincinnati after getting back to game readiness.
Jonathan India has only played in 11 games this season. He missed nearly two weeks in the middle of April before returning for four games at the end of the month. He last played on April 29th when he went 3-5 against the Colorado Rockies. At the time he was hitting .295/.311/.341 and was riding a 5-game hitting streak. It’s been a slow-go for his hamstring,though as he’s missed the last five weeks. He’s been working out with the team – taking batting practice and doing some other drills – but he had an MRI over the weekend and it came back clean, and now he’s ready to get into some games.
Donovan Solano will likely need most of the 20 days that position players get on a rehab assignment. Unlike India, Solano has not played at all this season. After signing with the Reds in the offseason, Solano played in four games during spring training, going 4-10 with two doubles, three runs, an RBI, and a strikeout. But he last played on March 29th.
At first the injury didn’t seem to be all that significant. During the first week of the season he was hitting in a simulated game. On April 19th Bobby Nightengale reported that David Bell noted it was possible that Solano could begin a rehab assignment within a week…. but nine days later Solano was instead getting a PRP injection in his hamstring and that shut him down for a week. There was some progress made after that, but things were still improving slowly. Now, 10 weeks after he was injured, he’s ready to begin a rehab assignment.
Jose Barrero optioned to Triple-A
The Reds also activated shortstop Jose Barrero from the injured list today and optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. Barrero had not yet reached the 20-day threshold allowed for his rehab time to be over, though it was set to happen in two days. Why the Reds opted to make the move before they had to is up in the air.
What isn’t up in the air is that ultimately it was the right move. While you probably won’t find a bigger Jose Barrero supporter than this author, he simply isn’t ready right now. Whether it’s the lack of spring training and him still finding his timing, or the recovery from his hamate injury – or both things – he’s hitting just .204/.316/.449 in his 14 games with the Bats. The power is there when he makes contact. Of his 10 hits he’s smacked three doubles and three home runs. The issue for Barrero in this stretch is that he’s simply not making contact. He’s struck out in 42% of his plate appearances so far with Louisville, fanning 24 times in 57 plate appearances.
We know that Jose Barrero is much better than that. In 2021 he hit .306/.392/.594 in Louisville with a 22% strikeout rate. When he gets back into the swing of things (no pun intended) and starts hitting, that’s when the front office needs to make the move to call him up and insert him into the lineup 5-6 times per week. Right now, though, he simply isn’t ready to do that.