Third baseman Eugenio Suarez and center fielder Nick Senzel, both key figures in a bolstered Reds lineup, are expected to be “full go” whenever play is able to resume, president of baseball operations Dick Williams told MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon this morning. Both players were recovering from shoulder surgery.
Suarez, 28, went under the knife in late January after injuring his shoulder while swimming during an offseason workout. There was some hope that he’d be ready for Opening Day, but that was a best-case and rather aggressive scenario. He didn’t appear in a Spring Training game, although Sheldon notes that he was on the cusp of getting some DH work in Cactus League play when Spring Training was shut down.
The 24-year-old Senzel underwent a much more serious procedure last September to repair a torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder. He’d gotten into some spring games as a designated hitter as well but had yet to play in the field.
Given where both were in Spring Training, it’s not exactly a surprise that both are expected to be full strength when “spring” training relaunches — be it in mid-June under the current best-case scenario or a bit further down the road. Still, this is the first public update on the pair’s health provided by the Reds since late March, so the confirmation is of some note.
Both Suarez and Senzel will be prominent factors as the Reds look to snap a playoff drought that dates back to 2013, when they fell to the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game. Suarez took his game to a new level last year, clubbing a surprising 49 home runs — a figure that trailed only Pete Alonso for the NL lead. The slugger has five guaranteed seasons remaining (including 2020) on the seven-year, $66MM extension he inked two years ago, and the Reds control him for 2025 as well via a club option.
Senzel, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, ranked among baseball’s elite prospects from the time he was drafted until last year’s rookie season. He didn’t exactly take baseball by storm, hitting .256/.315/.427 through 414 plate appearances, but between the September shoulder surgery, a March ankle injury and an elbow procedure that caused him to miss the Arizona Fall League in 2018, Senzel dealt with a number ailments that might’ve weighed down his performance.
Drafted as an infielder, Senzel has worked all over the diamond but was moved to center field last spring. He fared well there, particularly considering his inexperience, and the Reds envision him lining up there more often than not, with the likes of Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos and Shogo Akiyama flanking him. Of course, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently noted, if the Reds are comfortable bouncing Senzel all over the diamond in a super-utility role, that versatility and the likely implementation of the DH in the National League could leave skipper David Bell with innumerable mix-and-match opportunities on a daily basis.