The 34 year old returned to Cincinnati on a two year deal this past December, brought back to help offer some protection in the middle the lineup behind Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. In 472 PA last season Ludwick hit .275/.346/.531, adding 26 HR and 80 RBI. The Reds had a deep lineup and Ludwick was a big part of it. There was hope he’d be able to fill a similar role this year.
Ludwick separated his right shoulder sliding into third base during this afternoon’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that he’ll undergo an MRI tomorrow to determine the extent of the injury.
Replacing Ludwick during the 3rd inning of today’s game was Chris Heisey, who likely stands to benefit most from the available playing time while Ludwick is out. Heisey is a career .265/.315/.401 hitter over parts of three seasons. Each of the past two he’s earned more than 300 plate appearances. He doesn’t walk much and has shown inconsistent power, so it’s unclear if the Reds are willing to give him the starting role outright if Ludwick is going to miss a significant amount of time. He’s likely better suited for more of a platoon role.
Cincinnati could take a look at what’s available – a player like Casper Wells could be available and a fit – or they could also give Todd Frazier some additional time in left (with Jack Hannahan playing more at third). Top prospect Billy Hamilton is being converted into an outfielder, but he doesn’t appear likely to join the Reds active roster anytime soon. He could certainly benefit from some time in the minors first.
There appears to be options for the Reds, depending on how long Ludwick will be out. It’s merely a question of what direction does the team decide they’d like to go.