Earlier this evening, the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay tweeted out some potential bad news regarding Jay Bruce, and about a half an hour later, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick filled us in with some additional damning details:
Jay Bruce will have surgery this week to repair partially torn meniscus in left knee. Expected to miss 3-4 weeks. #reds— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) May 5, 2014
Jay's meniscus joins Mat Latos' meniscus in the Cincinnati Reds' Intensive Meniscus Care Unit, and it's the kind of blow that a team already dealing with injuries to Latos, Aroldis Chapman, Devin Mesoraco, Billy Hamilton, and Brayan Pena can ill afford. Despite Jay's rather pedestrian start to the 2014 season (by his standards, at least), the stalwart RF has at least been getting on base at a superb rate (.352 OBP), and his power potential is one that the Reds will struggle to replace.
The fact that Jay will miss May is also bummer worthy, as May Bruce has reached something of a cult status in the Queen City. Jay's made a history of having rather slow starts to seasons (his career .774 OPS in March/April is his lowest of any month), but he's also made a habit of rebounding to have dominant Mays (his .911 career OPS in May is his highest of any month). That he's set to miss the part of the season where he's usually the most amazing just adds salt to a already painful wound.
Also, this announcement makes today's pinch-hit appearance all the more odd. Bruce was scratched before this afternoon's game against the Milwaukee Brewers due to knee soreness, he emerged for a late-game pinch hit performance (an ugly 3 pitch strikeout), and several hours later he's set for meniscus surgery that will shelve him for a month. Curious, that.
I would expect Chris Heisey to get the bulk of the playing time in RF in Bruce's absence, and while it's unfortunate that Roger Bernadina was Designated for Assignment to open a roster spot for Skip Schumaker just a day ago, there is some solace to know that Donald Lutz is already on the 40-man roster and is mashing to the tune of .387/.439/.733 with 5 HR for the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos so far this season. It would not surprise me at all to see the Reds turn to Lutz to fill the vacated spot on the 25-man roster, but I suppose we'll all get to that news once we stop bawling our eyes out.
Just keep reminding yourselves that the Reds have the best run differential in the NL Central right now. Then find a funny cat .gif and hug a teddy bear.