- By Mark Schmetzer Contributing Writer
Hopes that outfielder Scott Schebler would be ready to play when he was eligible to return from the disabled list on Wednesday turned out to be more like a dream – or nightmare.
Instead of activating Schebler, sidelined since July 15 with a strained AC joint in his right shoulder, the Reds sent him to Triple-A Louisville on a medical rehabilitation assignment.
“I am going to DH (Wednesday night) for Louisville,” Schebler said before Wednesday’s game against St. Louis. “I am limited on throwing. I threw from 150 feet today, but I am still on a throwing program for a couple more days. I had a cortisone shot last Monday during the All-Star break. I stayed here.”
Schebler, who spent 11 days on the disabled list in April with a right elbow injury, was hitting .278 with 12 home runs and 37 runs batted in over 76 games while playing primarily right field for Cincinnati. He suffered his latest injury running into the right field wall while trying to make a catch on July 14 at St. Louis’s New Busch Stadium.
“We need to get Schebler back,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “Part of our offense has been the lack of left-handed hitting. It has given (Adam) Duvall and (Phillip) Ervin a chance to play. Both are major league outfielders. Phil has done a nice job.”
Ervin, recalled from the Bats to replace Schebler on the roster, has gotten at least one hit in four of his five appearances since rejoining the team.
Epidemic: Schebler’s right shoulder isn’t the only one to bother a Red this season. Rookie Jesse Winker, who’s hitting .299 with seven homers and 43 RBIs in 89 games, missed a second straight start on Wednesday after aggravating a right shoulder problem that he said on Tuesday has bothered him on-and-off for a couple of seasons.
“Winker is a little tender,” Riggleman said. “He is going to hit in the cage (Wednesday). We may be able to use him. We’ll see how it goes.”
Earlier this season, second baseman Scooter Gennett needed a couple of days off to give an aching right shoulder time to heal.
Pitchers haven’t been immune, either. Right-handed relievers Michael Lorenzen and David Hernandez both opened the season on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder problems.
Heart and Hustle: Gennett was named on Tuesday the Reds’ winner of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s Heart and Hustle Award, given annually to one player from each team who demonstrates “a passion for an best embodies the values, spirit and tradition of the game,” according to a press release.
Gennett, a Lebanon, Ohio, native, believes he wasn’t the only member of the team who deserves the award.
“It’s a great honor, but there are a lot of guys in here who bust their butts and give 100 percent every day,” he said. “That’s something I’ve always done and felt I should do – give 100 percent. It’s nice that people recognize this.”
Gennett, one of three Reds who played in the All-Star Game, went into Wednesday’s game ranked sixth in the National League in hitting with a .313 batting average despite having gone hitless in his last 14 at bats, one shy of his worst slump of the season back in April – when his shoulder was bothering him.
Weekend series: The Reds continue their 10-day, 10-game home stand with a four-game weekend series against the surprising Philadelphia Phillies, who were in first place in the NL East, one game ahead of equally surprising Atlanta, going into Wednesday’s games.
Right-hander Tyler Mahle (7-8, 4.32 earned-run average), who set single-game career highs by facing 28 batters and allowing six earned runs in Cincinnati’s 12-1 loss to Pittsburgh last Friday in the first game after the All-Star break, is scheduled to start Thursday’s 7:10 p.m. game for the Reds.
Mahle, in his last start before the break, turned in his shortest career outing – just 2 1/3 innings – while giving up a career-high seven total runs in a 19-4 loss at Cleveland.
Left-hander Ranger Suarez is scheduled to make his major league debut as Philadelphia’s starter. He’ll become the second pitcher in four days to make his major league debut against the Reds and the third over that span of time to make his first career start in Cincinnati.