Prior to tonight’s series opener with the Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds manager told the media that both left-handed pitcher Brandon Williamson and infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand have been considering options as they attempt to recover from their injuries that would involve season-ending surgery.

Mark Sheldon of reported the details, noting that Encarnacion-Strand has ligament damage along with his fractured hand. Williamson, who was just recalled from his rehab assignment last week, has a lesion in his shoulder.

After having a good rookie season in 2023, the 2024 campaign got out to a very poor start for Christian Encarnacion-Strand. Through 29 games he was hitting .190/.220/.293. During that stretch he was hit in the hand by a pitch and initially remained active and playing. But a week-and-a-half later imaging revealed that he had a broken bone and that it was likely from a previous injury. That could have helped explain some of his offensive struggles, but was also not the best of news. He was placed on the injured list on May 8th and hasn’t played since. Now it turns out that on top of the broken bone, he also has ligament damage. There were no details provided as to when the team discovered that or what led to it.

Brandon Williamson hasn’t played for Cincinnati during the regular season this year. After a strong finish in 2023 in his rookie season, Williamson seemed like he had a good chance to make the rotation with a good spring in 2024. But near the end of spring training he was placed on the injured list with a strained shoulder. He missed the first six weeks of the season before heading out on a rehab assignment. The lefty made one start in High-A Dayton before moving up to Triple-A to continue his rehab. With Louisville he made another three starts and was good in all four outings in the minor leagues – giving up just one run in 13.2 innings. But prior to making his 5th rehab start something didn’t feel quite right and he was removed from his rehab assignment.

When that happened, Bell told the media that Williamson would not pitch for about a week and then they would reevaluate things. Apparently during that period of time they discovered a lesion – though they weren’t specific with what kind and there’s a variety of things it could be with things from bursitis, tendinitis, to labrum or rotator cuff tears.

If we’re going to play the “bright side” game here, particularly with Williamson, the fact that surgery is an option rather than a clear cut requirement if he wants to continue pitching, might be good news in terms of how severe the issue may be.

Both players are expected to have a better idea of what they plan to do within the next few days.

38 Responses

  1. LDS

    Hopefully only season ending and not career. Krall needs to hit the market.

    • crrob

      Peter Alonso is available. Would be a huge aquisition for the Reds if they were willing to resign him –Obviously doubtful the Reds would do this but it would be the bat they need

    • The Duke

      Not for a 1B. Marte will be back soon, let Candelario play 1B/DH, he’s been terrible at 3B.

  2. Mauired

    Terrible news but not shocking. Seems like both injuries have lingered which is an indication surgery is next. Both suck, but Reds really needed CES in the lineup. Maybe they get Votto back. Then again. He might have some type of injury that isn’t be reported. One at bat in spring training and still not playing in June.

    • Lsim

      That one at bat was a homer on the first pitch off zach wheeler. So he’s had one swing as a blue jay. Then he went into the dugout and stepped on a bat laying around and that was that

    • Max

      Joey Votto problem is he is still asking a King’s ransom. And GM has ruled out that option.

  3. Jimbo44CN

    To me he just did not look right in the games he played this year(CES), especially after getting hit in the hand. Just not the same player as last year. Good news is they are both still young and to get them back healthy, even if next year, would be a great thing.

  4. CI3J

    I would say “I’m shocked”.

    Except I’m not.

    Hope these two young men make a full recovery and still get a chance to realize their dreams of long MLB careers, no matter what path it may take to get there.

  5. Jason Franklin

    Again, this is why you get a second opinion as CES did. There was some inane comments about questioning his drive, etc. We would rather have him with no injuries, but this is a bit odd that the teams’ medical staff seemed to miss the diagnosis.

    • Indy Red Man

      Inane is my middle name, but just maybe the Reds should completely check a guy out before they announce he’s been cleared. Idk what happened to the Reds and injuries….its like they give out false and misleading information all the time now?
      This is not WW3, its a sport and fans deserve to know whats going on. They hype up gambling nonstop and are onboard with it and we need clear information as well

      • Luke J

        The fans aren’t owed any information of the health of players. And gamblers deserve even less.

      • Brian

        This is a terrible reason to criticize the system. The players should get the best medical diagnoses possible, for themselves and for their teams. Fans and gamblers shouldn’t even enter the picture.

      • Votto4life

        “They hype up gambling nonstop and are onboard with it and we need clear information as well“

        I have been visiting this site for the past four years. Congratulation, this is by far the absolutely the worst take I have ever read here.

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    It’s weird to me that CES was expected to return between two weeks or so. He hit the IL since May the 8th so when everything points to coming back soon it switches in a likely ending-season surgery because they realized after a month, he has a damaged ligament too…Well , well…
    Related to Williamson it seems like he would have labrum issues if he requieres a shoulder surgery in my humble opinion…

  7. Mark A Verticchio

    Krall needs to make some moves if this team is to compete. It turns out that the only sure player coming back will be Marte and if they do make the playoffs he can’t play. This has been one strange year for the Reds. I just hope they can continue to play good ball and not worry about who is hurt and when, if, they are coming back.

  8. AllTheHype

    WIlliamson hurts. Hopefully Marte performs well and moves Candy predominantly to 1B for the rest of the season.

  9. Doc

    I never like the word “lesion”. That says a growth of some sort to me until explained otherwise. Strains, sprains, tears are usually called strains, sprains and tears, not lesions.

    Regarding CES, contrary to what appears to be popular opinion on this site, medicine is not black and white.

  10. RedBB

    CES has flat out sucked this year…if this gets him better then I have no problems. Can’t have the same CES back.

  11. Roger Garrett

    Sounds like CES was on to something.Could be as simple as well you say I am ok but i don’t feel that way so lets have somebody else take a look.People make mistakes and was the ligament damage overlooked?Surely the Reds doctors have the same tests available to them as every other doctor and hospital does to them but if not they better fix that.Went through something similar when the x rays were ok but the MRI showed significant damage in my knee.

  12. Jim Walker

    Here is a bit more from Wittenmyer at Cincinnati(dot)com. Turns out CES had a cortisone injection for inflation of the hand last week. The article continues “The pitch (which hit CES) also caused a small fracture, which is the lesser of the injuries.”

    Whoa! All along we were told by the Reds manager the injury was a fracture when apparently all along the medical staff knew something more significant had happened.

    I’ve said it before and now again. The current Reds manager should not be permitted to speak about any injuries on the record except to read verbatim statements provided to him by the medical and training staff.

    • Harry Stoner

      Bell can barely mumble his way through a post-game interview.

      He can not be trusted to provide credible information on just about anything.

      It’s pretty apparent that communication just isn’t his ‘thing’.

      • Jim Walker

        Harry>> You are giving the manager the benefit of the doubt. Bullying is bullying; and, this is pretty darn close to it in my mind.

      • Harry Stoner

        This has me wondering whether CES has been having wrist problems that predate the hbp and fracture?

        The drop of in his performance after last season and ST this year was startling.

        Was he trying to play hurt up until the fracture?

    • Doc

      Maybe Bell’s difficulty explaining something is analogous to someone saying a player “had a cortisone injection for inflation of the hand”!

      • Harry Stoner

        So Bell’s mumbling is due to auto-fill errors in his head?

        There’s a diagnosis worthy of the manager himself.

  13. Klugo

    So, let me get this straight. The Reds med staff have him the green light to resume hitting, but instead, he got a second, outside opinion that has revealed ligament damage? So, either the Reds med staff continues to look like a clown act or CES is trying to play Cat N Mouse.

    • Jim Walker

      No, the Reds medical staff gave him a cortisone shot last week for the inflammation in his hand which it turns out they considered the more serious than the fracture from the get-go. The med and training staffs, pending the results of the cortisone injection were going to start him on nonbaseball strength training; and, at some point in the future clear him for baseball activities.

      Meanwhile, the Reds manager twists things around in his sound bytes to where folks believe it means he should be ready to go.

      • Harry Stoner

        “Twists things around in his sound bytes…”

        Or twists things around in his head?

        Bell seems so intent on saying the things he thinks people want to hear that it seems as if he says the things that he wants to hear himself.

  14. ChrisInVenice

    Hell hath no fury like a fan who thinks he’s been wronged by medical reports.

  15. Redsvol

    You can kind of tell when these injury recoveries aren’t going well. Williamson got skipped once during his rehab and never progressed past 4 innings – even after several weeks.

    And then CES had the dreaded “2nd opinion” – which I always interpret as “ I’m not healing as fast as I think I should”.

    I think the only diagnosis they got was Edwin arroyo,s season being over after shoulder surgery. A similar injury to McLains but he can somehow come back in 4 months.

  16. Laredo Slider

    Reds med staff has received a new supply of leeches, quacks are ready to go.

  17. Jeremiah

    Is the Reds med staff all through Beacon Orthpedic?

    I’m just curious are all these injuries, second opinions, etc. normal when compared to other MLB franchises, etc.

    Maybe I’m off on this, but to me CES getting a second opinion, maybe hrs talking to McClain, India etc. and the trust in Reds med staff is not as high as you’d like it to be.

  18. Votto4life

    I think the Red’s run was always going to be 2025 and later anyway. Give McLain, CES and Williamson a full year to recover. Also, it will give Rhett Lowder and the Reds #2 over all pick an opportunity to make it to the big leagues. Perhaps, the Reds will add an RH bat and another starter over the winter.

    I think this team will make a run in 2025 and 2026.

  19. Max

    Reds nation is once again not holding Management and GM accountable. Thus team is 1 RH outfielder away from being contender! Make a trade with one of those HIGHLY thought of minor leaguers(Minor leagues for a reason).

  20. Rod Andrews

    CES has been the season’s biggest disappointment in my opinion, but now the reason is starting to come into better focus. I just couldn’t understand why he had fallen off so much. I’d always felt he was potentially the biggest power threat of the younger players. The main thing is to get him fully healthy for the future. As far as Williamson goes, a pitcher’s a different animal. I think he’ll be good as long as this injury isn’t seriously major. As far as the medical staff goes, I’m starting to be really concerned.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.