The injuries just continue to pile up for the Cincinnati Reds. Prior to this afternoon’s set of games, Reds manager David Bell had an update on infielder Matt McLain and it wasn’t great. McLain, who was scratched from the lineup on Monday with a sore shoulder, had an MRI on his left shoulder and Bell told reporters that he wasn’t sure if McLain would begin the year on the roster or on the injured list. He further noted that the team was looking at all of the options and that surgery is one of those options, as reported by Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The large gap of outcomes between “he could be on the roster and ready to play in a week” and “he may need shoulder surgery” is about as wide as it could possibly be. It’s been a tough spring for the Reds and McLain. The infielder would get a late start to getting into games due to a tweaked oblique that he suffered in February. He would not play his first game until March 10th. He’s played in five games overall and has gone 0-13 with seven strikeouts.

Last season saw Matt McLain break through and he was arguably the team’s best player. After he was called up in May, he hit .290/.357/.507 with 14 steals in 89 games before his season ended in late August after he suffered an oblique injury.

If McLain begins the year on the injured list, he’ll join several others. Outfielder TJ Friedl will miss the start of the season. Pitchers Brandon Williamson, Nick Lodolo, Alex Young, and Ian Gibaut are also all going to begin the season on the injured list.

With the news earlier today that the team made two more roster cuts and they had 14 position players in camp that included TJ Friedl, if Matt McLain isn’t going to be ready to begin the year then the club is going to have to make a move to add someone else to the roster. Whether that’s someone who is back in minor league camp or a trade or waiver wire pick up, as things stand right now they would be a position player short of the required 13.

Update: 7:01pm ET on March 20th

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic is reporting that manager David Bell said that “I think it’s safe to say he’s (Matt McLain) not going to be ready to start the season”.

Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer is further reporting that Bell told reporters that McLain is getting a second opinion on his shoulder.

73 Responses

  1. Dewey Roberts

    I guess at some point the bleeding will stop, but I hope it is before the team is bled to death.

  2. Laredo Slider

    Got it narrowed down there do you med staff???

    • greenmtred

      Working on it. These things are not always immediately obvious.

    • MrRed

      Well, the irony here is that Laredo Sliders have a higher probability of causing shoulder injuries. So, congratulations on your timely comment?

  3. CI3J

    The Reds are going to be out Marte, Friedl, and now possibly McLain for long stretches of time. And in Friedl and McLain’s case, they still might not be “right” for an even longer time even once they’re back.

    Those were expected to be 3 important contributors to the Reds’ offense. Even with all the “depth” that Krall added, it’s still looking pretty thin out there all the sudden.

  4. Jason Linden

    This sounds like it might be a “can he play through it” scenario. I’ll remind everyone that Votto damaged the shoulder he eventually had surgery on years before he actually had to get surgery.

    I know people here like to shout and demand answers and so forth, but a lot of things just aren’t simple. This sucks, of course, but maybe chill on the rhetoric about how bad the med staff is or whatever. We’re basically seeing a diagnosis occur in real time. Everything is not instant.

    • Adam

      Agreed. It’s a paradox in that you want answers immediately but that causes the waffling impression Bell seems to have.

    • wkuchad

      I agree we shouldn’t be criticizing the medical staff. But criticism is very much warranted towards the timing of dumping Barrero. Since then, we’ve possibly lost our starting CF, and starting 2B and 3B (both of which are the backup SS). It would be nice to have a player on the roster to cover both CF and SS.

      • Hotto4Votto

        The Barrero timing and decision is particularly hard to understand. I had long thought a decision on Barrero should be held off until right before we break camp so we can see what the needs are going to be with injuries etc.

      • greenmtred

        It’s easy to understand if the Reds–as seems likely to be the case–were convinced that he wouldn’t be able to hit MLB pitching. Apparently many other teams concur.

      • DK in Erie PA

        Jose Barrero was a terrible player. He was below average both offensively and defensively. He was given multiple opportunities and he failed every time. Good bye and good riddance. Glad to see him go. Are we also going to lament Nick Senzel? How about Moose? No love for Eric Milton?

      • Chris

        Why do people keep harping about Barrero? The kid is not any good, and injury or not, he doesn’t belong on this team. I’d throw Arroyo in at 2nd base today before having Barrero out there. What is it you people that harp on the Barrero trade actually like about this kid? What has he done to make you think remotely that he can fill in at an adequate level?

      • Jayce

        They were under no pressure to dump Barrero when they did and should be ashamed of that one.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    Silver lining—the Reds still have 6 competent starters, 8 competent position players, and a decent bullpen…..KNOCK ON WOOD. It’s the trying to figure out how to spell guys that will be the challenge. Sadly, just 2 off days in April.

  6. Frankie Tomatoes

    Just cancel the rest of the spring games and fly back to Cincinnati and get ready for Thursday. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!

    • Jimbo44CN

      I agree with that wholeheartedly. Seriously though, ST is wayyy to long.

  7. Optimist

    MiLB is all about hope, pressure and opportunity. Gonna watch Arroyo, Dunn, Hinds and Hurtubise, right from the start.

    • DaveCT

      Miguel Hernandez is a real sleeper in that scenario, too. Great glove and hands, and he’s hit some, too.

      Further, the Reds have held onto Ivan Johnson and Francisco Ubaez, who are long shots as starters but good candidates as AAAA utility guys. With the departures of Harrison and Kemp, AAA may have some infield openings, especially with the kids pushing up from A.

    • Colorado Red

      Of course, Arroyo, is out the season also.
      Shoulder surgery (see Doug’s other site)

  8. LDS

    I figured McLain for the IL, but hopefully not surgery. The Reds really need a competent communications person to handle the media. Bell does a lousy job and reverses himself within 48 hours, frequently. The Reds have gotten themselves into a very deep hole to start the season.

    • Optimist

      Sounds like 4 different gripes LDS.

      1 – See Jason L’s above comment on the injury – Likely they don’t know, and it’s certainly worthwhile to take time to get the correct diagnosis.

      2 – Who is complaining about the Reds media staff? Sounds like they communicated what they knew, when they knew it? Did they mislead anyone, did they omit anything?

      3 – The manager is not the media staff, and has he reversed himself in this case? Sounds like he’s up to speed with everyone else – namely, still waiting for a diagnosis, however long that takes. Meanwhile, he’s the manager.

      4 – How deep is the hole?

      • David

        Wow, is that deep. I mean, that’s really deep, man.

        Deep.

      • Justin T

        Do you think the Reds communicate w the fanbase well? Who in the organization does? Because we all know they don’t but instead of just saying that, you take the time to deconstruct what someone else said to prove a point.

      • Optimist

        If you need to communicate with the fan base, you’re probably not winning. That’s the problem. Winning solves lots of problems.

      • 2020ball

        How, in this case, have they not communicated with us? Sounds like they couldve communicated a lot less actually.

  9. Krozley

    They don’t currently have any realistic back up to SS on the 40 man roster if McClain can’t go. I don’t think they want Steer there. Erik Gonzalez may end up being the guy, unless they want to go with Miguel Hernandez. Waiver wire pick up is an option as well. Still not sure why they got rid of Barrero so early. At least positionally, he would be the perfect fit for what they need to backup SS and the OF. He could be an option if he doesn’t make the Rangers roster.

    • LDS

      He could be an option. However, if he’s smart, he’d choose anywhere over coming back to the Reds – Korea, Japan, etc.

      • Chris

        Yes because so many other teams are clamoring for Barrero. LOL

    • Tom

      Well, McLain has’nt been playing ss, he’s been at 2nd…they have a guy named Jonathan India that can play there very well. Elly De La Cruz is their ss my friend. They also have many options with Steer, Candelaria, Ford, and Encarnacion Strand…plenty of guys. They already have a surplus in the outfield even with Friel down with Benson or Fairchild who can field center, then Fraley, Steer, Hines, and Hurtubise…They are fine!

      • greenmtred

        I think the point was that they don’t have a legitimate back-up for EDLC on the 40-man roster. The guys you listed are on the team and we’re mostly glad of it, but none of them are shortstops.

      • Pharmer85

        When you’re missing 3key contributors like Marte, Friedl, and McClain, you do have a problem.

    • Melvin

      The Marte situation is really screwing things up.

  10. Jason Franklin

    I hate saying this, but the first few months of the season may be awful. With Friedl out for maybe up to 3 months, and McLain being off until whenve, what do you guys think will happen? Does Benson move up to leadoff when he can (against righties)? Will we see a minor leaguer make the team for the IF? Or do they call Harrison back? All these injuries are a real kick in the groin.

    • Tom

      Hurtibise is likely the guy to supplant Friedl in center because he’s much like him…Benson or Fairchild can also play center. That leaves Steer in left and Fraley in Right…plus Hines may be called upon to play too…

  11. Frank

    Man, would Barrero be a nice option to have now.

    • Tom

      Except hitting below the mendoza line justifies why he’s gone!

      • 2020ball

        His early release indicated to me that the Reds didnt see the progress with him they wouldve liked. Still didnt like the timing similar to everyone else, but that said i dont think he’s a player that is difficult to replace unless he finally turns that corner everyone wants him to. Im pretty skeptical he will, but wont say never for any player.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Watched him the other day in ST with Texas. Same old same old. Struck out looking in the 9th.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        The other option for backup shortstop seems to be Erik Gonzalez. He is 32 and hit .189 back in 2022 when he was last in the big leagues. He is 0-12 this spring with the Reds. Barrero may not be as good as some people think and he might be bad but he is better than Erik Gonzalez is and he can also play in the outfield where the team needs someone who can play center as a back up.

      • Jayce

        I don’t say the sky is falling but it is just true that the Reds are, all of a sudden, in a precarious spot with position players. They do not have any kind of surplus anymore. An MLB team needs more than one guy on the roster capable of fielding SS.

      • 2020ball

        @Jayce

        I dont think they are in that precarious a spot, theyjust need to cover some April games and guys will be back after that. The only spot everyone is quibbling over is the back-up SS for the 13th spot

    • Chris

      NO, NO, and NO! I’ll take Arroyo over him right now even.

      • 2020ball

        Id prefer not to rush him, a stopgap is fine as opposed to forcing him onto the 40 man early, especially dor a small market club.

  12. jessecuster44

    Getting really tired of multiple injuries piling up. At what point to even the most staunch apologists recognize that the Reds’ training and medical staff isn’t up to snuff with the rest of the league. These are YOUNG players getting hurt, not going full speed. Something stinks.

    • Krozley

      Both Friedl and McClain got hurt diving for balls, which I would classify as going full speed.

    • 2020ball

      You must be super familiar with the rest of the league to claim this, which teams dont have any injuries that are doing it better?

      • Justin T

        @2020

        This medical staff has a long history of incompetence. Who signed off on Lodolo coming back to pitch whwn the season was basically over onky to tweak the pre existing injury? Ask a medical professional around Cin what they think of the Reds medical staff. Goes back many years.

      • 2020ball

        Lol so you talk to “any” medical professionals often? Im wildly skeptical of that. Lotta big claims around here without much if any proof is all im sayin.

    • kypodman

      why are we diving for balls in practice

      • greenmtred

        Probably because, A). it’s instinctive and, B). doing it successfully requires timing which requires practice.

      • Chris

        Because that’s what baseball players do.

    • Chris

      I vote this as dumbest comment of the day! Really, you reduced yourself to blaming the medical staff for injuries? Where does this nonsense come from? How do you get there?

      • Justin T

        Young players injured that come back the next spring and play while tweaking the injury from the year before. Thats on a medical staff who clear them to play. Or is it just coincidence and noones fault?

      • 2020ball

        Im sure he felt fine going into the spring, how in the world is that the fault of the staff for clearing him to play?? You’d literally be coddling everyone based on some injury they had 5 months ago? I dont see the logic, confirmation bias up the you know what.

  13. Redsvol

    I’m just going to quit coming to this site for a month. Every time I do there is another injury.

    Geez, no mlb team can have enough depth to cover the injuries the reds are having. And we haven’t even started playing real games yet!

  14. Redsvol

    I’m just going to quit coming to this site for a month. Every time I do there is another injury.

    Geez, no mlb team can have enough depth to cover the injuries the reds are having. And we haven’t even started playing real games yet!

  15. Greenfield Red

    If Barerro still can’t hit the slider, the Reds will do just as well with a waiver wire pick up if needed.

    • DaveCT

      We may already have this player, Erik Gonzalez, who has played every position but C and P. From his 2018 (and final) BA scouting report:

      “Defensively, Gonzalez stands out for his quickness and above-average arm strength. He can produce highlight-reel plays, but has also been prone to making mental mistakes”

      “He has some intriguing offensive tools, including above-average speed and surprising pop stemming from his wiry strength and bat speed. He is an aggressive hitter and rarely walks, limiting his chances as a top-of-the-order hitter.”

      Sounds like an acceptable No. 9 hitter who can play all over.

      I also believe we have a similar guy in Miguel Hernandez, who has great hands and glove and hits some.

      • Doug Gray

        Is the person you quoted talking about a different Erik Gonzalez than the one with 11 home runs in 900 big league plate appearances and 54 minor league home runs in 4200 plate appearances? He’s got surprising pop compared to me. Compared to actual professional baseball players he’s got “can’t hit the ball past a drawn in outfield” pop.

      • DaveCT

        It’s all moot anyway, though, right?

        Edwin Arroyo is a phone call away plays ML defense yesterday should we lose EDLC.

        As for Gonzalez, who really cares?

        That report was 2018 BA.

        As I said, a AAAA no 9 hitter filling in short-term. There may/may not be waiver claims better than Gonzalez, but we aren’t lacking in the department if desperate. See above, moot.

      • Greenfield Red

        I stand by my earlier thought that potential 5 tool guys who are close to losing their careers because of one fatal weekness, should be offered an intense 4 to 6 week Winter session in an effort to correct the weekness before it becomes fatal. It should be filled with film breakdowns, swing adjustments, live BP, and any other career saving exercise. JB was a perfect candidate.

  16. SR

    India’s most effective position in the lineup was lead off. He played second for two years. We know he has limitations but he is the best option if McLain is out.Steer doesn’t have the range or dexterity to play second or Short. He is adequate at 1st, third or LF, which is all he needs to be with his stick. Please stop with the Barrero comments. He is not on the team, and was a gaping hole in the offensive lineup whenever he played at the MLB level. He has played a couple dozen games in center in his career He is not a second baseman by trade either. If EDLC goes down, we are likely to see Arroyo. The infielders will have to expand their range on pop ups with Benson in center. He goes side to side fine. He goes back fine.it’s the ones in front of him and right at himhe struggles with. If I had one move to do over, I would have signed Michael Taylor before the Bucs did.
    I do acknowledge several folks here that vocalized concerns about the durability of both Friedl and McLain. They were spot on so far.
    In terms of Bell, I have long ago adjusted my personal listening skills to tune out any first report news from him on injury severity or status. It is rarely accurate irrespective of the source he secures it from, be it his own assessment, the player’s feedback,trainer commentary, or other medical staff.

    • Indy Red Man

      I’d say Steer is a slightly better athlete then India from what I’ve seen, but probably have to play both in the field now

      • Jimbo44CN

        I would not say that at all. Watched Steer at second yesterday against the Angels. Not very good at all. Could not turn two double plays and limited in range. Keep him at the corners or left field.

    • Justin T

      @sr

      The problem w the Berrero talk is that its on brand for the Reds to put this kid onto the field when he wasnt ready and invest heavily in him, only to give him away for free (a month before you needed to) when you actually end up needing him the day after.

      Maybe he is terrible. Maybe not. But the way it ended is indicative of the Reds front office in 2024. Just mismanaged from top to bottom and things they do rarely make any sense. Casual fans see these things from a mile away before the Reds do it seems like. Wait a month, see how injuries shake out. Same w Harrison, he was told he wasn’t making the team several weeks before they had to. Why? To help the player catch on somewhere else? You owe nothing to them, you owe it to your team to do right by them.

      Noone is saying Berrero was the answer, as much as it was bungled how/when they let him go.

  17. Indy Red Man

    90% of me says game over, better luck next year. 10% of me though always remembers Dick Vermeil crying and saying “We’ll go on with Kurt Warner” after his QB got put out for the year in the preseason. I muttered to myself “Kurt who?”. Need guys to really step up

  18. Hotto4Votto

    So, the Reds as currently constructed don’t really have a healthy backup SS or 2B on their 40-man. I guess Steer could switch back from the OF but honestly wasn’t much of a defender anywhere and honestly we’ll need him in an OF corner at least against LH pitching. Candelario/CES/Ford are pretty much Corner INF/DH types.

    Who’s the next man up? Gonzalez who doesn’t have a hit this spring, didn’t play in MLB last season, and is AAAA journeyman? Miguel Hernandez who has bounced between AA and AAA the last two seasons with a sub-.700 OPS?

    Should they just call up Arroyo? Hope a waiver claim pops up? Any FA’s out there?

    • Indy Red Man

      We really need a Jerry Hairston Jr career year out of someone or we’re going to really average offensively

    • Jason Franklin

      I believe Arroyo is injured, if I remember right.

  19. Melvin

    “The large gap of outcomes between “he could be on the roster and ready to play in a week” and “he may need shoulder surgery” is about as wide as it could possibly be.”

    SMH 🙂

    He could play….or he could not play. hmmmm

    • 2020ball

      This actually just follows up my earlier points that we still dont even know whats going on and need to wait for more info. Sounds like rehab is a definite option. Y’all will immediately think the sky is falling but we dont know all the facts yet.