The Reds announced Friday that outfielder Jesse Winker has been reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Fellow outfielder Tyler Naquin will head to the IL in his place due to bruised ribs, thus opening a spot on the active roster. Meanwhile, veteran right-hander Brad Brach, who was designated for assignment Monday, has been released.
Winker, 28, went down with an intercostal strain more than a month ago. His absence from the lineup has clearly been felt, as what was a powerhouse offense for Cincinnati early in the season now ranks 28th in the Majors with 96 runs scored over the past 30 days. Obviously, there’s more at play than just Winker’s injury with such a glaring downturn, but he’s been a huge part of the Reds lineup, batting .307/.395/.560 with 24 home runs, 32 doubles and a triple through 481 plate appearances.
The 30-year-old Naquin was one of the Reds’ best hitters early in the season and, after a prolonged slump, heated back up for a blistering three week stretch to close out the month of August. From Aug. 11-30, he turned in a ridiculous .420/.474/.812 batting line with six homers, seven doubles and a triple through 76 plate appearances. He’s been banged up recently, however, missing much of the past week after a collision with teammate Jose Barrero. Naquin’s IL stint is retroactive to Sept. 14, so he can return in a week’s time if his ribs have healed sufficiently.
Brach, 35, was designated for assignment Monday after a rough stretch out of the Cincinnati ’pen. He got out to a brilliant start with the Reds, firing 20 innings of 2.25 ERA ball with a 28.6 percent strikeout rate and a 54.9 percent ground-ball rate. His past 15 outings, however, have been an immense struggle. He’s totaled just 10 innings in that time and been tagged for 16 runs on 17 hits and nine walks with nine strikeouts. He missed a month of action himself due to a shoulder impingement, so it’s certainly possible he wasn’t pitching at 100 percent during that rapid downturn.
Cincinnati is 3-7 over its past 10 games and has lost possession of an NL Wild Card spot in recent days. The division-rival Cardinals hold a one-game lead over the Reds for that second spot, and the Padres are also a half-game up on the Reds as they try to keep their playoff hopes alive.