5:22PM: Senzel’s sprain doesn’t seem to be particularly serious, as Reds manager David Bell told reporters (including C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic) that he believes Senzel will be ready to go after the All-Star break. This sprain is in a different area than the ankle injury that previously took Senzel out of action in Spring Training, Bell noted.
3:13PM: Reds outfielder Nick Senzel exited Sunday’s game prematurely after suffering a right ankle sprain, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The rookie appeared to snag a cleat on the center field fence while he was going after a Carlos Santana fly ball in the first inning. He played out the rest of the first inning and went on to take an at-bat in the bottom of the inning, but did not take the field for the second inning.
The severity of the sprain is not yet clear—ankle sprains can vary in seriousness and recovery timetable, though it’s notable that the injury wasn’t reported as a high ankle sprain, which tend to be more worrisome. At any rate, the timing of the injury is probably a best-case scenario, with the All-Star break affording Senzel and the Reds the next handful of days off.
Senzel, just 24 years old, has emerged as a key cog in the Reds’ lineup after debuting in May. In addition to slotting into the all-important leadoff spot and providing passable offensive output, Senzel has played exclusively in center field, a premium defensive position, in the Majors.
In Sunday’s game, Senzel was replaced in center field by Jesse Winker, who started the game in left field. Moving forward, the Reds should have several options to fill in for Senzel, should he require an IL stint. Phil Ervin has excelled as a reserve and could get starts in left field with Winker moving to center. Otherwise, Derek Dietrich, Jose Peraza, and Josh Vanmeter all have experience in the outfield. Scott Schebler, whom Senzel replaced in center following the former’s abysmal April showing, remains in the minors and is an option in center field.