News stemming from today’s MRI on left fielder Ryan Ludwick’s shoulder didn’t come back as positive as the Cincinnati Reds were hoping, as it appears that he tore cartilage when he dislocated the shoulder sliding into third base on Opening Day. Ludwick will undergo surgery tomorrow, according to NBC Sports’s Aaron Gleeman, and his return is uncertain. The team has placed him on the 15 Day DL, but have yet to make a corresponding roster move.
Chris Heisey came into yesterday’s game to replace Ludwick and figures to get the bulk of the now-available playing time, at least initially, but as I mentioned yesterday he isn’t necessarily an ideal candidate to play everyday. Billy Hamilton’s name has already been tossed out, as he could play center field allowing Shin-Soo Choo to slide over to left, but that move doesn’t appear likely anytime soon. The Reds seem to want Hamilton to get some additional experience in the minors before he steps into the lineup, as they should.
One other option that hasn’t been discussed much could be Xavier Paul. Paul joined the Reds early last July, having spent the first half of the 2012 season playing for Washington’s Triple-A affiliate. In 55 games over the remainder of the season he’d hit .314/.379/.465, coming mostly off the bench. The production was a vast improvement over his career mark – .246/.288/.341 heading into the 2012 season – but it was such a small sample, just 96 PA, that we can’t infer much from it. Paul has some speed and offers some defensive versatility, so he could see some additional playing time in the coming weeks.
Ludwick’s injury will certainly tap the Reds lineup of some power, but if the team can find an option capable of getting on base with regularity while playing good defense, they must be able to overcome his absence for awhile.