Reds slugger Aristides Aquino was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday after undergoing surgery to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand, per a team announcement. Infielder Max Schrock is up from the taxi squad to take his spot on the active roster.
A timeline for Aquino’s absence wasn’t provided by the Reds in their initial announcement. A hamate fracture is a relatively common injury around the league, so we do have some historical precedent as a point of comparison; hitters typically miss somewhere in the vicinity of four to six weeks with this injury. Every case is unique, however, so we can’t simply assume that’ll be the case with Aquino. The Reds figure to have further updates on him in the near future.
The 26-year-old Aquino has found himself in a tough spot to begin the season. The Reds had hoped to secure a fourth option on the slugger, but an arbiter ruled the other way in Spring Training, meaning Aquino can’t be sent to the minors without first being exposed to waivers. Cincinnati has held onto him despite a crowded outfield mix that includes Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos and red-hot Tyler Naquin.
The Reds’ top four outfielders — Winker, Senzel, Castellanos and Naquin — have been the most productive outfield group in Major League Baseball by a mile, leaving Aquino with minimal playing time. He’s appeared in 10 games but taken just 14 plate appearances, going 3-for-13 with a pair of homers, a double, five strikeouts and a walk.
At a certain point, one can imagine the Reds will have to make a tough call on what to do with Aquino. It’d take multiple injuries to open a path to regular playing time for him, and with Shogo Akiyama also on the mend, it’s possible that once Aquino has healed up, he’ll have yet another outfielder ahead of him on the depth chart.
The Reds surely don’t relish the idea of selling low on a slugger who mashed a remarkable 13 home runs in his first 27 MLB games back in 2019 — a rookie season that saw him bat .259/.316/.576 in 225 plate appearances. At the same time, the Reds have acquired multiple bats to play ahead of Aquino since that debut effort. He’s tallied just 70 plate appearances dating back to 2020, with a combined .183/.300/.417 line to show for it. Add in a woeful September swoon in that rookie season, and Aquino has batted just .191/.261/.395 in his past 180 trips to the dish.