That the early part of the 2014 Reds season has been riddled with injury is both no secret and a complete understatement. It started during spring training and has continued into early May. The infield and the outfield, the starting rotation and the bullpen, the everyday lineup and the bench players have all been impacted. But which injury is, has been, and will continue be, the most costly? Fortunately, we have several options to choose from.
Mat Latos: The 2013 Reds' best starting pitcher never really got started in spring training. In fact, since his last appearance in 2013, Latos has had two different surgical procedures and now is dealing with a flexor mass strain in his right forearm. Last we heard, the most optimistic predictions had Latos slated for a late May return. Alfredo Simon has pitched exceptionally well in his absence, but Simon's move to the rotation likely has had a negative impact on the bullpen.
Aroldis Chapman: The most dramatic injury on this list occurred when Chapman took a line drive to the face in a spring training game on March 19. Despite the grossest photo ever, he appears to have made a nearly full recovery and may be back in red as soon as this weekend. Jonathan Broxton has filled the closer's role since his own return from the disabled list; prior to that, Sam LeCure, J.J. Hoover and Manny Parra were used in save situations, to varying degrees of success.
Jay Bruce: This is the most recent of the Reds' many injuries and the jury is likely still out on the impact it will have. The Reds are saying 3-4 weeks for Bruce's return from surgery to repair his torn meniscus, but that seems optimistic to the point of insanity. Another consideration will be his impact when he does return. Will he still have the power Reds fans have come to expect? So far, a combination of Chris Heisey, Roger Bernadina and another recent disabled list returnee in Skip Schumaker seem to be splitting Bruce's playing time. Complicating this situation is yet another injury. Center fielder Billy Hamilton has been kept out of the lineup due to a hand injury, but has not been placed on the disabled list.
Devin Mesoraco: Mesoraco actually began the regular season on the disabled list with an oblique injury. When he returned to the lineup, he hit better, by his own admission, than he has in his entire life at any level. That came to an end on April 25, when he strained his hamstring while scoring a run. While it's unlikely that he was going to continue to produce at a 1.297 OPS(!) or 250 OPS+(!!) rate, his right handed power bat has been missed. The good news here is that Brayan Pena and Tucker Barnhart have been producing surprisingly well in his stead.
These are just the worst four. Tony Cingrani is currently on the disabled list, but that may well be to limit his innings and to take advantage of the off days in the Reds schedule for now. Schumaker, Broxton and Sean Marshall all began the season on the disabled list but have returned. Jack Hannahan is currently on the 60 day disabled list and doesn't appear to be close to ready to play again. Hamilton has appeared as a pinch bunter – a position the Reds just invented - but hasn't started since being removed from Friday's game.
In short, the Reds are banged up. But which injury is, has been and will continue to be the most impactful? Vote below and discuss.