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.

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.

11 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Nice, fluid swing. I think I’ll start liking him now and avoid the rush later.

    Good news on Geno. Let’s hope Winker is OK.

    • David Herrmann

      Exactly.
      The last thing we need to hear about are “minor set backs”

  2. RojoBenjy

    Hope Suárez doesn’t rush or get rushed. Need him long term.

  3. GhostRunner

    Doug, I don’t see the point in Suarez swinging a bat one handed.

    Good for Shogo, getting his first hit out of the way.

    Gonna be fun watching the Reds this year with all of the new players.

    • RojoBenjy

      There are one-handed swinging drills that many players do even when healthy.

    • LWblogger2

      Pretty much for timing purposes. It also helps a player’s muscle memory as far as his swing-plain.

  4. RojoBenjy

    Off-topic:

    I love RLN!

    Just tried reading some comments on a Nick S thread at another message board and was so frustrated at the “hot takes” there that I ran away screaming.

  5. CFD3000

    It’s more important for Suarez (and Senzel) to be back at full strength than it is to be back quickly. Nevertheless this is good news. Ground balls and one armed swings are fun, but focus on the rehab exercises Geno. The Reds will need you healthy.

    The HBP x2 from yesterday’s game is very troubling. Those hand and wrist bones can be pretty fragile. We’ll all be looking for proper medical updates on Winker and Davidson.

    Lastly, I hate that lineups right now are full of names we’ve barely heard before but it’s Reds baseball again so I’m coming down on the side of “Awesome!”

    • RojoBenjy

      Guess the batters who wear the wrist and elbow armor shouldn’t take so much flak from the old-schoolers if that means they can stay healthy.

  6. DaveCT

    Finnegan at 94 would do very nicely. This guy I remember to be highly competitive when he pitched well early.