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Organizational Injury Report 4/7/14 - Reinforcements for an Injury-Plagued Start

Broxton, Mesoraco due back early this week

Broxton will be inserted as the closer upon returning April 8.
Broxton will be inserted as the closer upon returning April 8.
Mike McGinnis

This column has the unenviable task of revisiting and updating the seemingly constant injuries which made the spring training season of 2014 the unfortunately fitting continuation of an offseason of doing little to set the Reds up for improvement this year.  Baseball is back and in full swing now, though, so let's just let this be the last mention of this forgettable offseason.

The injury story of the young season has been the decimation of the pitching staff.  Starting with the rotation (ha!), Homer Bailey had a mild groin strain towards the end of spring training.  He made his scheduled start for the Reds on April 3, but perhaps he was feeling some residual effects that we can blame for the subpar performance to open his season.  Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto have also made their scheduled starts and appear to be fully healthy after minor spring training worries.  Mat Latos suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during the offseason, and the Reds, as they seem wont to do, figured it a very minor problem that he would return from before spring training even ended.  As it is, Latos will make at least one more rehab start in the minors before returning.  He was roughed up in his first outing at AA, but he indicated that he felt fine.  5th starter hopeful Brett Marshall injured his finger during spring training, and was then placed on the 60-day DL.  Seems extreme, but the Reds were in desperate need of 40-man roster spots due to the rash of injuries.  In Latos' stead, Alfredo Simon pitched a gem in his first outing of the season holding down the 5th starter spot.

The bullpen was bitten worse than the rotation, most notably by the freak injury to Aroldis Chapman.  He fractured several bones in his face on April 19 when hit by a line drive.  He had a metal plate inserted, but in a very encouraging sign is already throwing on flat ground.  He is expected to return in mid-May.  Jonathan Broxton is still rehabbing from the forearm injury which cost him a big chunk of last season - a flexor mass strain.  The Reds have announced they will activate Broxton tomorrow, and Bryan Price has announced that Broxton will be the closer until Chapman returns.  Sean Marshall has also not recovered from the injury which cost him basically the entire 2013 season - shoulder tendinitis.  He is on the 15-day DL with still no timetable announced for his return.  Finally, over the first week of the season, there was speculation that Sam Lecure may have been dealing with an injury, since he did not appear in any of the first 5 games.  However, Price said it was owing to his philosophy that warming a pitcher up is stressful on a reliever's arm just as much as actually entering the game, and Lecure had warmed in four consecutive games.  Concerns were put to rest when he entered against the Mets on April 5.

On the position player side of things, utility infielder Jack Hannahan was placed on the 60-day DL for a torn labrum, an injury he spent most of last season playing through, unfortunately.  His fellow utility IF/OF Skip Schumaker  is also on the 15-day DL for a dislocated left shoulder he suffered on April 21.  He is expected to return when the calendar flips to May.  Catcher Devin Mesoraco is on the 15-day DL for an oblique injury, though Walt Jocketty has announced that Meso will be activated either today or tomorrow.  He has no hits in six trips to the plate in his minor league rehab, but he has had no setbacks and is ready to return.

In the minor leagues, AAA Louisville pitcher Justin Freeman and OF Josh Fellhauer were placed on the 7-day DL to start the season.  At A- Dayton, catcher Julio Morillo and SS Humberto Valor were placed on the 7-day DL to start the season as well.

The state of injuries in the Reds organization is available via the link.