We wrote a little bit about it yesterday based on the report in-game from Wednesday night that there was a chance that Nick Senzel may not play again this season. Well, late last night C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reported that not only will Nick Senzel miss the final three weeks of the season, but that he’s got a torn labrum in his shoulder and would be seeking a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache. He’s the doctor who performed Tommy John surgery on Reds top prospect Hunter Greene, as well as Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani.

Sometimes a player and a team simply can’t catch a break. And that seems to be the loop that Nick Senzel and the Reds have been the last two years. In 2018 he missed the second half of the season after an injury to his finger while playing in Triple-A. After being sent to the minor leagues near the end of the spring this season, Senzel injured his ankle sliding into a base while playing on the backfields. That cost him about a month before he returned in late April to play for the Louisville Bats. And now he’s going to miss the final month of the season due to injury, too.

There’s a lot to digest here. Let’s start with the second opinion. You always want to get a second opinion on treatment, particularly if one of the options is surgery. Daniel Kramer of MLB.com reports that while surgery is an option that “any procedure wouldn’t preclude Senzel from being ready by spring training”, according to Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams. If nothing else that’s some good news to take away from all of this.

Wick Terrell of Red Reporter posed an interesting question last night about whether or not the shoulder injury could possibly mean Nick Senzel moves back in to second base to take it a little easier on his throwing shoulder. It’s a legitimate question, but I’d also ask if there were risk in playing second base versus center field because – at least to me – it seems you are diving more on the dirt than you are in the outfield. I don’t have the slightest clue as to which one would present more of a risk. I certainly did not attend medical school and it’s been a while since I last stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

For now, it seems that there’s at least a hope that surgery isn’t the only option. As the previously mentioned non-doctor here, rehab along with rest can be an option for tears that are small enough. Surgery is always the last option you want to choose. We’ll find out soon enough whether or not Nick Senzel will need it or not, but it makes tons of sense to at least explore other options of treatment before making that commitment.

24 Responses

  1. Robert Gibson

    Are there any instances where someone has rehabbed a tear and came back, on time, as good as before? I watch the games but don’t follow off season stuff really hardcore but it seems like to me the way this usually goes is the player opts for rehab, spends all off season rehabbing, shows up to spring training, re injures it, has surgery before the season starts and misses a whole season. Then I get mad and say “if he would have had surgery at the end of last season he wouldn’t be missing a whole year, rawr!” Lol.

    But seriously, does rehabbing torn labrums ever work? Like I said, I’m somewhat casual and I know people here follow the players a lot more than I do. I understand from a personal standpoint not wanting to have surgery, but if rehab rarely works and he’s most likely to have to have it in the spring, why not have it now?

    • TL

      Couldn’t agree more. I’ve had a torn labrum and after surgery it was good as new. They also sanded down the bone to make sure ligaments and such didn’t keep rubbing which might have caused the problem in the first place. Rehab was super easy compared to an ACL repair which I’ve also had. Would much rather get the surgery than risk rehab and another injury.

  2. DEAD RED(S)

    Did we not learn our lesson with Greene? If surgery is the best option, no matter how wonderful the alternative sounds, have the surgery. Especially this dude. I mean geez, the list of ailments is absurd, and all in the last 2.5 years. If he craps out either due to health or just not being the hitter we hoped him to be, the Reds are cooked. Even more so than they already are.

    • Doug Gray

      Let me counter this with Michael Lorenzen and Anthony DeSclafani, who both also tore their UCL’s and opted for rehab rather than surgery and never wound up needing the surgery.

      So, no, don’t always just immediately opt for the surgery. It’s not always the only answer or solution.

      • TL

        Agree with you about UCL surgery. But it’s different than a torn labrum. UCL can easily take 18 months to return from. Torn labrum is much quicker. Could be 4 months. He’d be back before spring training.

      • Doc

        Agree, Doug. One must also remember that labrum tissue is not the same as ligament tissue. Cannot use one as an example of how to manage the other.

        Robert asked the cogent question. There is an ortho who occasionally posts. Perhaps he would provide some basic, generic information.

    • Jonathan Linn

      @ DEAD RED(S) – please don’t forget that Senzel is also human who has skin on him. If it was me, I would 100% get a second opinion. I’ve had my share of medical issues and getting a second opinion has helped me out a ton.

    • Colorado Red

      Still Nicks choice.
      What ever it is, I hope he is ready to go by spring training.

  3. RedNat

    with the emergence Of vanMeter, Aquino and Ervin this year I think we are less dependent on Nick Senzel and Jessie Winker being healthy for 2020 to be successful. Which is a good thing. Also Peraza is starting to regain form recently so I think whatever we can get from Senzel and Winker in 2020 is “icing on the cake”. Let them both take their time and do whatever it takes to get healthy. no rush.

    • Scott C

      All three of your aforementioned examples have cooled off considerably as word gets around as to their weaknesses. And to say Peraza is regaining his form? With two on and two outs last night he swung at the first pitch and hit a lazy fly ball to right. Both Peraza and Galvis and Iglesias all have very poor plate discipline. Yes I know that Galvis hit a grand slam last night. The old adage about blind dogs applies here. I don’t think any of those guys are going to be cornerstones of the franchise. Not saying that Senzel and Winker are either but I would put my money on them first.

      • RedNat

        I just think we have to wrap our heads around the fact Senzel and Winker may never be everyday players. Peraza is durable. Ervin looks durable as well. Not sure about Aquino and VanMeter but if they can stay healthy I think they will put up pretty good numbers over the course of a year. I don;’t know I Would rather have guys that can play everyday than players that may have a higher upside but are more prone to injury. just my opinion.

        I do agree I Think it is silly to have both Iglesias and Galvis on the same team. I like Iglesias Myself. he appears to be a little more consistant.

      • Scott C

        I agree that Iglesias has been more consistent this year than certainly Galvis has but he has made a lot of soft contact that has gone for hits, I believe that is starting to balance out for him some as the season closes down. Cannot fault his glove though.

      • AirborneJayJay

        “The old adage about blind dogs applies here.”
        Please share. I have not heard that one before. Do they keep walking into walls not knowing where they are going? That would certainly apply to the Reds field manager.
        I know, you were probably referring to squirrels, not dogs.
        Agree with you on Peraza, Galvis and Iglesias. They cannot have 2 of those 3 in the lineup at the same time in 2020, or it is going to be more of the same that was 2019. The best bet would be to non-tender both Peraza and Galvis, and Dietrick too, in November. That money would be, and should be, better spent elsewhere.

      • greenmtred

        The similar adage that I know is about blind pigs: even they find an acorn now and then. Of course, Galvis has found 22 acorns.

      • Shchi Cossack

        @AirborneJayJay…
        “The best bet would be to non-tender both Peraza and Galvis…”

        That leaves the Reds without a SS on the 25-man roster. I think that would be a problem.

        An upgrade at SS would be nice, but I believe the Reds can absorb a single weak bat in the lineup at SS, if he has a plus defense. Glavis fills that role and the Reds control his contract for the 2020 season. The Reds still don’t have a SS for the 2021 season, so I would keep Peraza under team control, but assign him to AAA so he can work on (and hopefully improve) his plate approach (and also help Bell-proof the 25-man roster).

    • tom

      The Reds definitely need more offensive players. That’s the way the game is played these days (for example see Yankees and Twins). Hit lots of home runs and you win more often than not. Other than Suarez the Reds do not have a lot of power. If Aquino can make adjustments to the way he is now being pitched that would be another power bat. Who are the others? Votto, Iglesias, Winker, Senzel, Barnhart, Galvis? Nobody in that group puts up consistent power numbers. The Reds are in the bottom third of the league in runs scored and other offensive categories. This along with playing half of their game in Great American Small Park. Not optimistic they can win consistently by scoring 3 or 4 runs a game.

  4. SultanofSwaff

    Shortstop. Outside of first/third base, I can’t think of a less punishing position, especially with the new slide rules. Geno’s not going anywhere and we have 2B options aplenty. Nick would be at least average defensively given his plus athleticism and the bat will more than play.

    • greenmtred

      Lots of diving stops at shortstop. I’m pretty sure the Reds–including Barry Larkin–watched him work out at short and concluded that he wouldn’t be good there. He also hasn’t really hit much better than Iglesiasthis year, but it’s right to give him a pass, since he’s an injured rookie.

  5. Old-school

    Could it be the St Louis wall took out Schebler last year and Senzel this year. Senzel crashed hard in the CF fence 8/31 on a great catch. The replay looks like his left shoulder absorbed most of the force.

    It would be interesting to know if Senzel has had an accumulation of things to the right shoulder or it happened in that collision. His poor 2nd half numbers would suggest it happened earlier this year. Reds beat reporters should ask that question.

    Many reasons for Senzel to return to the infield. His instincts and experience in the infield are far superior to the OF.

    • Curt

      Red Beat reporters should ask questions…period. About everything and hard ones, uncomfortable ones. Hold people’s feet to the fire. Enough with the mysteries. Sadly, too often many are handicapped by their own fan personalities and of course the fear of being banished from the locker-room and losing there jobs, pretty much insures they aren’t going to rattle any feathers. This is true to a large part across all pro sports unfortunately, with a few exceptions in LA and NY.

      I haven’t seen anything definitive regarding Senzel’s injury but I find it hard to believe it was anything other than that crash into the wall that’s taken him out. My opinion of course.

      And yes, no question Senzel back to the infield.

    • Jim Walker

      What you say makes sense. The Reds are not being very specific. Per the Mark Sheldon article on MLB.com, the Reds are saying that the initial injury happened “sometime before he (Senzel) was scratched from the club’s Sept. 4 lineup”, also that the tear had progressed since the initial injury. Decipher that.

      FWIW or not,. Senzel is also quoted in the article that he had experienced “similar shoulder issues in “2016”.

    • Old-school

      I’ve watched the replay several times. His left shoulder absorbs the contact. He comes up and immediately throws the ball and looks completely comfortable with his right arm. Did not look like a play that ended his season with a new R shoulder injury. Left shoulder absolutely.

  6. Still a Red

    I would think, remembering from my high school playing days, that throwing to first base from the infield is different than throwing to home plate from center field. While transitioning to center, If you throw from center like you throw from third it can put a lot more stress on your shoulder. Of course Senzel has had plenty of ground and wall impact that may have caused the problem, so who knows the issue. Living in DC, I watched Ryan Zimmerman, a superb 3rd baseman have to transition to 1st because of shoulder issues.