The Cincinnati Reds have lost catcher Tyler Stephenson for the next 4-6 weeks after he broke his thumb during Thursday afternoon’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, first reported by Mark Sheldon of Reds.com.
In the 4th inning of the game a foul ball off of the bat of Jordan Luplow caught Stephenson in his non-catcher hand and he was in obvious pain. The training staff came out to check on him, but the conversation wasn’t very long before he exited the game and headed back to the clubhouse with the medical staff.
It’s a tough break for Tyler Stephenson and for the Cincinnati Reds. Stephenson was having a strong season at the plate, hitting .309/.366/.475 entering the day. But it’s not just what he’s done at the plate that’s been beneficial for the Reds, it’s what he’s been able to do behind the plate, too. He’s thrown out 10 attempted base stealers this season – good for a 32% caught stealing rate.
Aramis Garcia is the only other catcher currently on the active roster. That will change tomorrow as the team heads to St. Louis to begin a weekend series with the Cardinals. The question will be who comes up from the minor leagues to join him as the other catcher on the roster. Mark Kolozsvary is on the 40-man roster and in Triple-A. But on a recent road trip the team opted to add Sandy Leon to the taxi squad instead of Kolozsvary even though Leon is not on the 40-man roster.
Kolozsvary has only played in 12 games with Louisville this season and he’s hitting .231/.333/.436 with two doubles, two home runs, four walks, and 13 strikeouts for the Bats. Leon, the 33-year-old with 1437 big league games under his belt, has played in 20 games with Louisville this season and he’s hitting .193/.309/.281 with 10 walks and 10 strikeouts. Leon is currently in a 3-30 slump dating back to May 1st. A third option out there could be Chris Okey. The 27-year-old is not on the 40-man roster and he has no big league experience. But he’s played in 24 games in Triple-A this season and is hitting .265/.324/.441 this season with three doubles, three triples, a home run, six walks, and 24 strikeouts.
No matter which catcher the team ultimately decides to go with the Reds are going to be taking a downgrade from Tyler Stephenson in a big way. Aramis Garcia will likely become the guy who catches most games with the call up likely getting two starts a week.