When Matt McLain’s shoulder got him scratched from a lineup in spring training the initial words from Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell were that he “should be fine” and that he was “in the lineup tomorrow”. It turned out that McLain wasn’t fine and wasn’t in the lineup the next day. Or any day after that. In face, a day later it was announced that McLain may need surgery on the shoulder and that’s eventually what happened.

Bell, likely with far better information today than he had last month now that Matt McLain has had surgery and a detailed rehab plan told the media members at Great American Ball Park that McLain could realistically return to the club in August.

If Cincinnati is in playoff contention at the time that could be a big boost if McLain returns healthy and performs as he did last season. Of course, those are both big assumptions. The Reds are currently dealing with plenty of injuries right now that could keep them from truly contending up to that point, and the track record of guys coming off of shoulder surgeries and stepping back into the big leagues without skipping a beat isn’t exactly great.

A change in the rotation

The Reds game was postponed by rain earlier today. It seemed like it was a foregone conclusion last night with the forecast. Nick Martinez was scheduled to start the game for Cincinnati and given that we all could see the weather, he likely didn’t even go through his normal pre-game stuff before word came down that they wouldn’t be playing today. That would typically mean he would just take the mound tomorrow and everyone else would also just get pushed back a day.

That’s not the route that the Reds are taking. Martinez won’t pitch at all in the series against the Chicago White Sox that begins on Friday night. Instead they will skip over Martinez – as reported by C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic – and have Andrew Abbott pitch Friday, Nick Lodolo come off of the injured list to pitch on Saturday, and then Sunday will see Graham Ashcraft take the mound. The rotation after that has not yet been announced, though earlier in the week the club did say that they would be sticking with a 6-man rotation for the time being.

69 Responses

  1. Rednat

    Good news on McLain. This series got me thinking …the. brewers have been arguably the most consistent team in the NL central in the last 10 years. How much of a factor is playing in American family field – Miller park been a favor in this? Would they have been this good if they were playing at old Milwaukee County stadium?And should the reds follow suit and build an indoor stadium.

    At least from a business aspect if you can take mother nature out of the equation I think ticket sales would be more consistent. How many ticket sales are lost in Cincinnati because of crap weather? Also how much does weather effect the players both physically and psychologically? I don’t know. We have had some good weather years the past couple of years so we are due for a crappy rainy spring-summer

    • Old Big Ed

      No, the public should not spend $1 billion on an indoor baseball stadium, so as to avoid maybe 3 rainouts a year for a team owned by very wealthy persons.

    • greenmtred

      Anyway, if the Reds did build an indoor stadium, there’d be severe flooding, cows and snakes would fall from the skies and Hamilton County would suffer an infestation of rabid bats. Best leave well enough alone.

      • Chad A Donnell

        You must listen to Bill Cunningham

      • greenmtred

        Never heard of him. I rely on portents.

    • Tom Reeves

      I think the retractable roof at Miller Park makes a massive difference for the Brewers. Cincinnati is a mess for weather. But I think that cake is baked. The Reds have to figure out how to win within the constraints the team has.

      Btw, Miller Park is a marvel but it’s also important to remember 3 iron workers lost their lives building that stadium.

    • Doug Gray

      The weather isn’t a factor for the players. Very few indoor stadiums around baseball and players do good and bad in both situations.

      But if Bob and friends want to finance their own billion-dollar stadium with a roof, they can have at it. They won’t, of course.

      • MBS

        I’d love a stadium in Cincy with a retractable roof. It would be a huge asset for the city’s ability to secure more major events. I’d rather it be the Bengals stadium with a roof, but the Reds stadium would be cool to.

      • MBS

        “Cincinnati estimates Swift’s two-day visit in late June generated $48 million in concert sales and a total of $92 million in net new local spending.”

        “The last time Houston hosted the Final Four in 2016, the event reportedly generated a $250 million impact, according to the city of Houston. Last year, New Orleans reportedly saw an economic injection of about $170 million, per Forbes.”

        “The estimated economic impact of recent Super Bowls in host cities has surged to over $1 billion.”

        These are major events that have huge impacts on the cities that get to host them. Being a Midwest city hurts us, but not having the proper facilities hurts us even more.

      • Doug Gray

        The next time a city “estimates” how much economic impact something brings to the table and then it’s checked by actual economists and is right, it will be the first time. There have been studies and studies and studies done on this and they always say the same thing: No, it did not do that.

      • MBS

        Are you calling the city a liar? lol, IDK what the actual impact is, but the point still stands, bringing in more events increases spending in the city. Plus events are fun.

      • Doug Gray

        Yes, I’m calling nearly every city in this country a liar. Or someone who hired someone to lie for them. Study after study shows that these economic impact claims are almost always insanely incorrect. They really don’t increase spending in the city as almost all of the money spent would be spent elsewhere in the city. And the big events that would bring in out of towners don’t cover the money lost for building billion dollar buildings.

      • Son of Sabo

        Rebuking est economic impact by claiming “study after study” is ironic at best, hypocritical for sure, falsehoods at worst. I’ve worked w city comptroller/ planners & econ develop commission. With all the consulting & cross referrals, you simply can’t lie your way past a few budgets.
        Curious re: money “would be spent elsewhere” ?

  2. G in FLA

    I wonder how many errors EDLC will have by the time McLain comes back.

    • Old Big Ed

      Probably about the same number as Ozzie Smith did in his rookie season, at age 23.

      Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Elly is on pace to hit 39 HRs, steal 78 bases, score 139 runs, and have a 1.034 OPS.

      • Grover

        He’s exciting but that .458 avg on balls in play won’t continue so lets hope he makes more contact going forward.

      • Tom Reeves

        He’s creates some BABIP advantage with his speed. Maybe not to a .458 but it’s not nothing either.

        Frankly, take away the power – which we never expected – and he’s the player we all hoped Billy Hamilton would be. EDLC’s talent really doesn’t have a ceiling.

      • G in FLA

        Calm down OBE. I love what he brings to the plate and the basepatths. I’m less convinced of his discipline as a SS though. Surely you must know the difference between fielding errors and batting stats?

        Beings that you’re so proficient at it, maybe you can inform us all what pace he’s on for accumulating errors, which is all I mentioned.

      • Justin T

        Ozzie Smith. The names that fly around here when comparing them to current Reds is…interesting. Elly will never have Ozzie’s glove so not sure the point.

      • Justin T

        @g in fla

        Ozzie in his worst season had 25 errors. We are in early April and Elly has 5 in 12 games. Ozzie avg 14 errors a year for his entire career. I guess willie mays probably was once hitting .130 in the first 10 games so maybe CES will end up with over 600 homers.

  3. Jim

    Look at how Suarez and votto turned out after shoulder surgery. Just saying

    • Old Big Ed

      Even though the shoulder is the most complicated joint in the human body, there is only one type of shoulder surgery, and all of them turn out exactly the same.

      • Son of Sabo

        Yes, can call it most “complicated” joint …but then you conclude only one type of surgery? There are several. Your context alone gives a hint.

    • Mike in Ottawa

      Votto was already well on the downward trajectory of his career. Geno, was always swing and miss kind of guy…McClain is young so should return ok. It was his non-throwing shoulder so he can make it work.

      Having had 3 shoulder surgeries (2 right, 1 left) they have only been good for 7-10 years before needing redone. Both of mine need done again just putting it off. I also don’t have the surgeon and rehab at my disposal that a professional athlete has.

  4. Jason Franklin

    I wonder, and hope this doesn’t happen, would the great mind decide to use Martinez in one of the weekend games if they need a long man for whatever reason? Wouldn’t that make sense? I mean, with Lodolo coming back, should we assume that Martinez will be dropped out of the rotation (even if there are other starters maybe more deserving)?

  5. Jim Walker

    It is normal and natural that we as fans and followers of the Reds would wonder and even hope for McLain to be back in August.

    However, rather than throwing out vague sound bytes and click baits that McLain returning in August might be a realistic possibility, I would prefer the manager stick to his job of getting the most out of the players available to him here and now. Every working moment the manager spends thinking, hoping, fantasizing, or talking about McLain’s possible return 3 months from now merely takes those moments away from his job at hand.

    • Mark Moore


      I get he “has to say something” but leave it at “maybe in the 2nd half of the season” and proceed to talk about what you are doing to ensure that 2nd half actually matters.

      Yes, it’s early and I know the staunch HDTBell supporters dislike any criticism of him. I still haven’t adjusted my ranking from 30 of 30 (yet). But if it weren’t for the ownership nepotism, I maintain he would NOT be the skipper. And his “press presence” is just painful. I mean, that’s part of the job so why don’t they help the guy out?

      Wishing MattMc all the best as he recovers!

      • CI3J

        Doofus, I want to know too!

        Mark, what is HDTBell???

      • Nick in NKY

        Gents I could be wrong, but I believe based on my reading here that HDTBell is shorthand for “Handy Dandy Tinker-Bell.” I get the distinct impression that this moniker is… slightly pejorative? 🙂

        It does kinda make me chuckle now that I read it out loud, though.

      • Doug Gray

        IF that’s what it stands for, people need to stop it. It’s against the rules to give “derogatory nicknames” and anyone using that – assuming that’s what they are saying – is trying to be derogatory in nature. Commenting rules can be read here.

    • Melvin

      Did David Bell actually say, “I’m not looking to make a spark or shake things up” when asked about a possible batting order change?

      • greenmtred

        I couldn’t read the article without subscribing, but online headline of the Enquirer article had it: I wouldn’t shake things up to make a spark at this point…At least I think it said that; I’ve been pretty worried about the rabid bats.

    • doofus

      Jim, you are the Yoda of this forum.

    • Harry Stoner

      FWIW Bell may be fantasizing along with many Reds’ fans.

      He may appear disconnected, aloof, duller than drying paint and a persistent mumbler, but he does likely see what’s going on in the absence of McLain, Friedl, Marte et al.

      • Jim Walker

        Which is of what consequence in how he manages the active roster provided to him to win games now?

        If I were a GM/PoBP, I’d want my manager and coaching staff focused solely on preparing for and playing the games. My policy would be that once a guy was diagnosed by the medical/ training staff to be out for at least 6 weeks, the field manager and coaching staff would be removed from the formal loop until the med/ training staff determined the player was with 10 days of being ready to start baseball related activities.

  6. Melvin

    McLain coming back at all this year and then actually playing well is an extreme long shot in my view but I’d be very happy to see it.

    • MBS

      I certainly wouldn’t plan on it. It’s a nice bonus if it happens.

  7. Melvin

    “That’s not the route that the Reds are taking. Martinez won’t pitch at all in the series against the Chicago White Sox that begins on Friday night”

    Makes sense to me. Just wonder if he will be available out of the pen. A six man rotation doesn’t seem feasible.

    • Redsvol

      I’d say Martinez is being held to be called upon as a piggy-back after lodolo’s 4 innings Saturday. I doubt that he goes beyond 4.

      • Grand Salami

        Agreed, Lodolo will be at a hard pitch limit most likley. 80 perhaps and/or 4 innings, whichever comes first? Got to insure he comes along naturally and the Reds do everything in their control to avoid more injuries.

  8. CI3J

    Color me skeptical on the McLain news. I highly doubt he will be back in any form this year, and I hope he doesn’t re-injure himself trying to rush it.

    And even if he CAN come back in August doesn’t mean he SHOULD.

    Besides the re-injury risk, the bigger issue, as others have alluded to, is it’s highly likely he won’t be an effective offensive player as he continues to recover. Do we really want McLain out there with a sub-.500 OPS for two months? That’s a recipe to pick up bad habits as he tries to compensate.

    This who situation could be a defining one for McLain’s young career. I sincerely hope the Reds recognize that and don’t screw it up.

    Not to sound overly negative, but it’s within the realm of possibility that McLain is never the same player we saw last year ever again. How the Reds handle his recovery from this injury will go a long way to deciding that outcome.

    • David

      That’s basically what happened to Tejay Antone in August of 2021. The Reds were still somewhat competitive in the race, and if Tejay could come back after his arm was hurt, could help the (then crummy) bullpen win a few more games.
      So, he came back sort of hurt, and tore up his elbow again, the Reds still didn’t make the playoffs, and Tejay’s career is now probably over, as it has been hurt a third time.

      And, while I am not exactly sure, I can’t find Joey Votto anywhere on any roster of the Toronto Blue Jays or their minor league affiliates. I think he is done.

  9. JayTheRed

    Saying someone hopefully will be back in August is wishful thinking. Should injuries take time to heal. I predict that the team is looking more optimistic trying to keep fans in the seats. Realistically I again would be shocked if he is back at all this season.

    Also being back from injury doesn’t mean they will product the way a person did before they were injured.

    • jon

      august 1st or august 30th? Big difference.

      • JayTheRed

        I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not but there is a huge difference between Aug 1 and Aug 30. That is 1/6 of the season in that month alone. Teams in 1st place could be in last place if they have a bad month.

        Only time will tell but I’m not counting on McLain being the player he was last season until maybe the end of the season or even next season.

  10. Mike W

    David Bell’s father Buddy Bell was the VP and Senior Advisor to former GM Robert H. Castellini, who is the owner. I’m sure David Bell’s father Buddy is not advising the GM, President or owner to fire his son!

  11. Mark A Verticchio

    Hoping McLain is back in August is just poor managing, Bell needs to worry about the present or more than likely August won’t matter.

  12. Old Big Ed

    I’m not seeing how Bell is distracted from his job by re-telling in about 4 sentences what the medical staff said about McLain’s potential rehab. Bell probably fed his dog yesterday morning, too, which took about the same amount of time as saying what he did about McLain.

    If the Reds say nothing about a player’s injury, then the fans explode about a lack of information. If they do say something, then the fans immediately scoff — when not one single fan has seen even one word or image from any medical report on the player.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Agree completely OBE, and I am not a Bell lover. But some people want to blame him for everything. Does he get any credit when things go right, no, not on this site, they just say he was lucky. Geez.

      • Justin T

        @ Jimbo44CN

        Its more the fact that the same problems arise year after year. All spring Bell talked about versatility and having the ability to move guys all over the diamond. When i would ask “what about the defense” i was told im negative. Now here we are and the defense is awful but someone is being negative to mention it? The Reds have annually been bad at running the bases, walking hitters, striking out a ton and having a worn down bullpen by August. This year no emphasis was put on defense and it shows. The Reds have been sloppy for the last 5 seasons, it’s just the truth. Management (on and off the field) needs to at least recognize its a problem before being able to do anything about it.

      • greenmtred

        But there hasn’t really been much moving guys around. Espinal has played 2nd and 3rd, but he’s the utility guy. The outfield gets shifted based on match-ups, but it has actually been closer to a set lineup than usual. Friedl and McLain are probably the best defenders on the team and they’re injured, so it isn’t surprising that the defense is less than scintillating.

  13. Mike in Ottawa

    August as a DH would be possible. I’ve done that rehab (3x). Not sure I’d risk fielding, though it was his non-throwing shoulder.

  14. old-school

    Reds defense and K rate are areas that must improve. Reds have like 6 guys with K rates over 30%. Conner Capel is tearing up AAA right now, showing some pop with the bat and 8 walks with only 4K’s in over 40 plate appearances. Above average speed and might be an upgrade over Bubba or Martini. Stuey, Benson, Steer, and Fraley give you 4 outfielders and Fraley and Benson and even Steer could flex to DH once a week to give Capel some AB’s and time in the OF where he has flexibility. Defense and bat to ball skills of this team have to get better.

    • MBS

      Defense isn’t going to improve. EDLC isn’t a very good SS, and India isn’t a very good 2B. They are both doing well in their offensive roles, especially this little run that EDLC is on. Candy, and CES are good on the corners, and the OF is playing pretty well, no gold gloves, but no liabilities either.

      Returning personnel is the only way forward on defense. McLain, Friedl, and Marte would improve not only the defense, but the K rate as well. While we wait, we are going to need to rely on pushing defenses with our aggressive play to make up the gap.

  15. Hanginwithem

    Ted Abernathy comes to mind. He essentially re-invented his delivery as a result of a serious shoulder injury. According to Baseball Reference, he played 14 years in the bigs.
    McLain is still young and growing into his body. He has every reason to rehab his shoulder and come back strong and he probably can’t wait for the calendar to turn to August.

    • Hanginwithem

      Serious answer: Since 2019, the Reds have played to a .469 winning percentage. They are now 6-6, 150 games left. The math would work out to 70 or 71 more Ws. So, 76 or 77 for the season. An intangible to consider is this team’s ability to overcome odds against them. So maybe add in another 4 wins. I think that would put them comfortably over 73.5

  16. Jim t

    I really used to enjoy this site but the knowledgeable baseball chatter has taken a backseat to the I hate Bell crowd. It is that way regardless if we win or lose.

    • wkuchad

      Been especially bad the last few days for sure.

      • Grand Salami

        I fell into temptation after the last Miluakee loss. I forgot how the Reds had a great record outside the division, but besides the Cardinals, the Reds got kicked around in the Central. The Brewers losses reminded me of that feeling.

        Between that and watcing one the top 5 hitters so far this season come to bat at #7, I just had to vent a little.

    • JayTheRed

      Honestly there are certain posters I no longer read because they are either always negative all the time about every aspect of the Reds or their comments typically don’t make a lot of sense.

      On the flip side there are several people here who I enjoy reading their thoughts and ideas even if I don’t agree with them often or not.

      My advice if you start reading a comment you feel is not helpful to the conversation then just move on to the next section in the threads.

  17. Mike W

    Glad to see Bell moved Steer to the #4 spot as I’ve suggested since Game #1. Now if he just switches CES to #6 and EDLC to #3, he’ll have the players 1-6 line-up I’ve suggested since Game #1. Hope he leaves it this way and lets them play. Abbot has been great. Go Reds!