Pitchers and catchers officially reported for spring training on Tuesday out in Goodyear at the Cincinnati Reds complex. While they had to be there, they weren’t the only ones who were in Arizona. Several position players showed up early, too, and were already getting some work in. Elly De La Cruz and Jonathan India were on the field and turning some double plays.

With the first official day of camp underway it meant that the media was able to speak with a variety of Reds personnel. Among the infield, manager David Bell noted that Elly De La Cruz was going to play a lot of shortstop and that Matt McLain would play a lot of second base, and that everything else would “play out” according to Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer. That shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone.

That statement by the club’s manager, though, does bring up some questions about Jonathan India. The 2021 National League Rookie of the Year just signed a 2-year deal with the Reds that will pay him up to $8.8M over the next two seasons. His 2023 campaign was hampered in part by plantar fasciitis. He played through part of the season with it, but also spent time on the injured list with it. The issue returned during the offseason and limited some of what he was able to do. But as you can see in the video above – he’s at least healthy enough at this point to be on the field and doing some work.

As for where he’s going to play, the Reds are hoping to get India playing time at first base, second base, in left field, and as the designated hitter. During his time in the big leagues, India’s only position he’s played has been second base. He’s also been the designated hitter 29 times in his three seasons.

The other injuries

Jonathan India’s not the only Red working his way back from an injury. Graham Ashcraft and Nick Lodolo both ended the season on the injured list, and Noelvi Marte injured his hamstring while playing in the Dominican Winter League. None of the three are fully ready to go as of today, but are getting closer. Ashcraft specifically told the Cincinnati Enquirer that “I’ll be good by the season.”

Ashcraft had surgery and has a plate in his toe. Lodolo had a stress reaction in his tibia that put him on the injured list in early May and after a short attempt at coming back in September, it flared back up and he was shut down after a 2.1 inning performance in Triple-A. The good news is that they aren’t trying to overcome arm injuries, but the bad news is that both are still at a point where they aren’t 100% and it’s February 14th.

36 Responses

  1. Old-school

    Brad Meador on the radio last night characterized Lodolo as going through his progressions. Sounds like Lodolo Ashcraft and Marte will be on their own schedule and wont be 100% cleared by the first spring training game. Who knows what that means for Opening Day but sounds like Ashcraft isnt concerned.

  2. CFD3000

    India at full strength would be nice, but it may be more important as the Reds start to consider him as trade capital rather than a key player. Ashcraft and Lodolo on the other hand are potentially critical pieces of the starting rotation. Here’s hoping it’s just a matter of time and strength and conditioning to be ready for spring games rather than lingering injury. The Reds will need them both.

  3. wkuchad

    Against a lefty starter, I wonder if we’ll see India in LF and Steer in RF? It may not be the best outfield defense, but it would be a solid lineup against a lefty.

    • BK

      I could see that happening, provided India shows he can handle LF.

    • Phil

      Unless Benson and/or Fraley have shown significant improvement against lefties, I would expect to see this. Could also see Fairchild (assuming he makes the opening day roster) as an outfielder who can hit lefties but may be better defensively.

  4. Mark Moore

    Several players to watch closely as things ramp up. Good to have India’s contract stuff behind us so it’s not a distraction (or any extra baggage from arbitration). Where he plays with any regularity and how he performs are near the top of my watch list. How Marte does and whether he heads back to Cincy or L’ville is also high on my radar.

    I said it yesterday and will say it again …

    BASEBALL!!!!!

    • wkuchad

      I want to come out of spring training and start the regular season with only three things:

      1) a healthy Friedl – there is no starter-level backup for CF

      2) a healthy Stephenson – there is no starter-level backup for C

      3) at least 5 of our main 6 starting pitching options to be healthy

      Okay, I guess that’s actually 7 things I want.

      • Brian

        I see red flags all over this article. Ashcraft is a big guy, is this toe on his landing foot? Should they consider a bullpen year for Lodolo? I’d baby him this year, it feels like he’s gonna be an every year health issue.

        India having return issues in the offseason tells me that he will likely have more problems after a couple of months of playing. I’m guessing that they wouldn’t have extended him without the Marte injury.

        India and Lodolo give me the most concern of the 4. I’m really hoping that Ashcraft heals properly.

      • Melvin

        “I see red flags all over this article.”

        Yeah. We may not have as much depth as we think. lol

      • 2020ball

        I doubt Marte’s injury had anything to do with his extension, all either side wanted was some cost certainty.

  5. RedinTxs

    We can already see how important DEPTH, quality depth, is going to be. For the first time in a loonnngggg time, the Reds have quality as well as quantity.

    Krall resigned Bell for his experience and (some) success juggling a 26 man roster. I’m as far as you can get from being a David Bell fan. But I give him creds for being a juggler of men.

  6. Roger Garrett

    Won’t bite too much on Bell other then to say he is what he is and his decisions are what they are and he will give us plenty to talk about.Reds are young and talented and vet presence is limited to the new guy at third along with India and Ty Steve and no long term really bad contracts to deal with.Got to believe the Reds take a big step forward if they remain healthy.As always just let the young guys play and lets see what happens.

  7. Optimist

    A big Hmmmmm on those injury updates. Doesn’t sound good, but doesn’t sound horrible. Already seeing the importance of depth.

    • Rick

      Acute(young guy hamstring, Marte), trending to cronic(India).
      The toe taking that pounding from a big dude causes concern re; Ashcraft.
      Hopefully, Lodolo will be ready soon.
      It’s early.

  8. Jason Linden

    Plantar Fasciitis is no joke. Some may remember that Pujols struggled with it for years. Hopefully, India is able to get past it. At least with the pitchers it’s not an arm/shoulder thing. That gives me hope they’ll be ready in time.

    • Mark Moore

      +1,000

      The impact to his mobility is critical. He also has to be very clear and honest regarding how it’s impacting him. The way he hid it early on last year definitely didn’t help.

  9. redfanorbust

    For me, some other key things to watch durning ST is how much better/different EDLC swing is and how that translates to success, how much practice JI gets in left field and how much TJ Antone has progressed/healthy.

    • JayTheRed

      Considering what Antone has gone through I would expect nothing and if we get something it will be a very lucky day.

  10. Indy Red Man

    Ashcraft is a game changer imo as far as the staff goes. If he’s not right then they have big problems. I think the league will adapt to Abbott….maybe low 4 era. HG and Lodolo can’t get through 5 without 90+ pitches most of the time. Yes they have more depth, but they desperately need 160+ innings out of Ashcraft

    • Jason Linden

      A low 4 ERA is substantially above average for a starting pitcher in the current era. Last year, starting pitchers averaged a 4.46 ERA

      • Optimist

        That, and I doubt they get 160 ip from anyone, maybe not even 150. Perhaps one of them is injury free all year and surprises, but I expect a few missed starts, by design, to keep everyone at 140 if healthy. (psst – they won’t all be healthy)

      • VaRedsFan

        We shouldn’t care what league average is. In order for a team to succeed is to have multiple players better than the “league average”. So what Indy says is true. Abbott needs to be around 4.00 and 160 innings.

        That goes for everybody else on the team.
        EXCEED league average expectations, or you’re just settling for a .500 team hoping to get in, instead of kicking down the door.

        Don’t set a low bar just so it’s an easy hurdle to get over.

    • Phil

      Last season there were only 45 pitchers to log more than 160 innings. Of those 45, only 29 had an ERA below 4. Would be great if 1 Reds start reached those levels.

  11. MBS

    No surprises here. The guys that were hurt will be ramped up at a different pace than the rest.

    The interesting part will be how they use Marte, Candelario, and India. Most everyone else has a pretty clear role.

  12. Max

    Bubba Thompson is another Billy Hamilton ALL hype NO reward!

    • greenmtred

      Well, Billy was an elite defensive center fielder and an excellent base stealer. That’s reward. Hitting is important, but it’s not the whole game.

      • VaRedsFan

        ^^This^^

        Billy single handed changed games. He didn’t have many empty stat games …meaning when he contributed, the Reds usually won. He just couldn’t do it often enough.
        Some guys would hit a HR in the 9th inning of a 9-3 loss. (empty stat)

  13. Melvin

    “but the bad news is that both are still at a point where they aren’t 100% and it’s February 14th.”

    Yeah. That’s definitely not a good sign. We’ll see about India too. Maybe he really is healthy. I don’t know. The kind of double plays they were practicing were very basic without much movement though.

  14. Old Big Ed

    The reports I’ve seen do not necessarily say that India still has PF symptoms, and can be interpreted meaning that the recurrence of PF over the winter may have just set back his conditioning for spring.

    I don’t sense that India, Ashcraft or Marte have had any real setbacks to being ready by Opening Day or soon thereafter.

  15. Indy Red Man

    I’ve been saying this since 2022, but maybe Lodolo’s best role is a Andrew Miller type high lev reliever. He wasn’t bad after all. Alot of guys just aren’t cut out to be starters

  16. Morgan Red Fan

    India should look into magnesium for his feet.

  17. old-school

    Add Alex young to the list. Throwing schedule stopped with back tightness.
    That Suter signing and Moll acquisition were good moves for the pen.