The Cincinnati Reds had played 69 games and counting in 2019, through Sunday, without Scooter Gennett, one of their top hitters in 2017 and 2018.
While Derek Dietrich has compiled impressive power numbers (17 home runs and 37 RBIs), he and Jose Peraza, who has split time with Dietrich at second base, have combined to hit .220. There’s no doubt the Reds have missed Gennett’s bat. His absence is one reason they own the second-worst team batting average (.233) in the National League and thus the third-worst record (31-38).
As Gennett nears a return to the big leagues, his starting job awaits. He began a rehab assignment with the Single-A Daytona Tortugas on Monday.
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“I think we all know he’s going to play,” said Reds manager David Bell on Monday before the start of a three-game series against the Houston Astros at Great American Ball Park. “He’s been a big part of our offense in the past years. There’s no reason to believe that will change. We’re looking forward to getting him back. There may be some limitations at the beginning just due to making sure he’s healthy and all that, but other than that, he’s going to be one of our regular players.”
Gennett has spent the entire season on the injured list after straining his groin fielding a ground ball in spring training March 22. He was supposed to miss eight to 12 weeks, and the 12-week mark came Friday. He spent the last week in Goodyear, Ariz., preparing for this rehab assignment.
The Reds planned for Gennett to play five innings Monday for the Tortugas in Daytona Beach, Fla., against the Florida Fire Frogs and stay with the team for four or five days before continuing his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville.
Bell said the Reds have a plan for Gennett until early next week, but that doesn’t mean the rehab won’t stop there. He is eager to get him back in Cincinnati.
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“He’s a big part of our team,” Bell said. “Once he got injured, of course he was in our thoughts all the time, but you can’t think too much about it or dwell on it, but now that it’s getting close, it would be great to get him back. I’m happy for him, too. It’s a long process.”
NOTES: Starting pitcher Alex Wood will throw live batting practice Tuesday and another session Saturday. If all goes well, Bell said, the Reds would then talk about Wood beginning a rehab assignment. He has been on the injured list all season with a lower back injury. … Shortstop Jose Iglesias is the only Red in the top 10 in all-star voting. He ranks 10th at his position in the National League after ranking ninth last week.
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