One of the biggest storylines of the spring for the Cincinnati Reds is whether or not All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suarez will be ready to play when the 2020 season begins on March 26th against the St. Louis Cardinals. Suarez, who injured his shoulder in the offseason while diving into a swimming pool while playing with his daughter. The shoulder would need surgery to clean things up a little bit, but the expectation was that he wouldn’t miss as much time recovering as outfielder Nick Senzel who had shoulder surgery in September and is also still working his way back.
As I type this, Eugenio Suarez has only been fielding balls, but not throwing them, and only taking swings with one arm while in spring training. But Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Suarez will take the next step in his rehab process, throwing and swinging with both arms this week out in Goodyear. The hope all along was that he could be ready to go by the time the regular season gets here. How things go this week will be big in determining whether or not that can happen.
Jesse Winker, Matt Davidson exit game after HBP
Well, things didn’t exactly get out to the best start for outfielder Jesse Winker. After his season came to an end early last season due to a neck injury, the first game of the spring came to an end early, too, after he was hit by a pitch in the wrist and walked immediately to the dugout. He was replaced in the lineup by Mark Payton. But it sounds as if Winker is fine as relayed to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.
Winker's leaving now. It was his left wrist. But he said he's fine. Payton staying in the field in left
— C. ???????????? (@ctrent) February 23, 2020
It wasn’t just Winker that was hit by a pitch and had to exit the game, though. Infielder Matt Davidson also left the game after taking a pitch on his hand.
Brandon Finnegan returns
Left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan returned to the mound for the Reds on Sunday afternoon. The left-hander didn’t pitch in games last season until late July – joining Double-A Chattanooga on July 26th after spending the first parts of the season trying to get his arm back to where it used to be and working on his mechanics. For the most part he performed well, but he had two disastrous appearances where he allowed four earned in just 0.1 innings – making up eight of his 11 earned runs allowed on the season.
Sunday afternoon he tossed a hitless inning of relief, and according to Jeff Brantley on the radio call of the game, he was hitting 94 MPH on the radar gun. If we are going to believe that number is correct, that’s harder than he was throwing last season. One of the things that really led to Finnegan’s struggles was that his fastball velocity tanked. If he’s back to throwing 94 that could be a good sign for the lefty.
Shogo Akiyama notches his first hit of the spring
Jim Day was in the right spot at the right time on Sunday afternoon to get this video he shared on Instagram of Shogo Akiyama’s first hit of the spring, lining a single into right-center field off of Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease.