When Eugenio Suarez injured his shoulder and had to have surgery last month, the Cincinnati Reds were hopeful that it wasn’t serious and that he could be ready “around Opening Day”. Earlier today saw Reds manager David Bell provided an update to Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer, noting that the latest updates are encouraging, and it’s realistic that he could be ready to play on Opening Day.
As was reported when the injury and surgery were originally announced, at the start of the spring, Eugenio Suarez is going to be limited when activities begin in Goodyear for position players on Tuesday the 18th (position players report on Sunday the 16th, but the first workout is Tuesday).
The surgery on his shoulder was just another one for the Reds in the last year. But for Suarez it seems that his injury wasn’t as serious as the surgery performed on Nick Senzel, and was more along the lines of the one performed on Derek Dietrich, which was more of just a “clean up” than something a little bit more serious.
Tucker Barnhart to give up switch hitting
Last season in the second half of the year, Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart decided to make a change and only hit from his natural left-handed side. At the time he noted that he wasn’t sure if it was permanent or not. Already in Goodyear, Barnhart told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic that it’s official – he’s done hitting right-handed.
Tucker Barnhart was taking BP left-handed against a left-handed BP pitcher. I asked if that meant he’d made his decision, he said he’s done with right-handed hitting. Then we joked that it means less running, and that’s a good thing
— C. ???????????? (@ctrent) February 12, 2020
As was reported at the end of last season, Barnhart had struggled from the right side of the plate for his entire career. In the minor leagues his OPS as a right-handed hitter was just .444, and he topped the .500 OPS mark just once in a season from that side of the plate in a given minor league season. In the Major Leagues he had hit just .220/.297/.296 from the right side of the plate – better than he had been in the minors, but still a continuation of plenty of struggles.
With Curt Casali being a right-handed hitter, and Barnhart now being a full-time lefty, it will be interesting to see just how much (or little) time that Barnhart gets against left-handed pitchers this season. It likely won’t be much, but catcher is the one spot where you don’t often see platoons based on hitting, so there’s a chance it could be more than one initially thinks, too.