We learned last evening that Cincinnati Reds infielder Dilson Herrera would not be playing for Team Colombia in the upcoming World Baseball Classic despite having originally have been on their roster. "No problem," we said collectively. "It’s surely just because he’s since seen Brandon Phillips traded away, and he thinks staying in camp in Goodyear will give him a better shot at making the big league roster out of Spring Training."
Well, it turns out the story's a bit deeper than that, as The Enquirer's C. Trent Rosecrans and Zach Buchanan relayed to us Friday morning.
That danged shoulder. It's an issue that had Herrera in a very similar situation around this time in 2016, as SNY's Matthew Cerrone noted at the end of Spring Training last year. Of course, if your read that article, it cites Herrera's eventual AAA manager Wally Backman talking about how Herrera played with a sore shoulder "last year," which would mean 2015 in this time travelling exercise I've put you through.
To recap, that's now three seasons in a row where Herrera's right shoulder has been an issue, despite the fact that he's never once had to actually have surgery on it to fix anything. Aside from it being routinely "sore," there hasn't been much evidence released to inform us exactly what it is that's causing the issue. In a look at the Reds' crowded infield from back in December, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon referenced Herrera's season being interrupted after joining the Reds in the Jay Bruce deal mid-year by a "shoulder injury caused by sleeping awkwardly on a team bus," which I'm assuming is somehow related to today's revelations.
Herrera can still hit with said sleepy shoulder, as he's still penciled in as the team's DH in Saturday's game, for now. That falls in line with his start to the AAA season last year referenced earlier, when he served as the Las Vegas 51s' DH in each of his first 7 appearances of the year - appearances in which he went 3 for 17 over an 8 day stretch with a .458 OPS. Hopefully, this time around it's not something that will restrict him for that long, though it's surely bound to be something the Reds will be cautious with at this point, considering the recurrence of the odd injury is enough to have some wondering if the centerpiece of last year's deadline Bruce deal is truly damaged goods.
To think, all of 12 days ago we were wondering how the logjam in the team's middle infield would ever sort itself out.