Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson is undergoing surgery to repair his fractured collarbone, manager David Bell announced this afternoon (via C. Trent Rosecrans of the Athletic). Bell indicated the surgery isn’t expected to affect Stephenson’s timetable, although the club nevertheless transferred him from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list to clear a roster spot for the reinstatement of outfielder Albert Almora Jr. from the COVID-19 list.
That suggests that, in any event, Stephenson was always likely to miss two-plus months. That’s little surprise after the young backstop suffered the clavicle fracture last week when he was hit by a foul tip. The earliest he’ll now be able to return is late September. Bell wouldn’t rule out seeing him again this season, but it’d be for a few games late in the year at best.
The Reds will be playing out the string at that point, although they’d presumably prefer to get Stephenson some game action to head into the offseason on a better footing. He’s had a trio of IL stints this year, all on generally freak plays. Stephenson suffered a concussion in a home plate collision, then twice was hit with foul tips that resulted in fractures. That’s kept him to 183 plate appearances, although he’s been a rare bright spot for the club when healthy. The 25-year-old (26 next month) has an excellent .319/.372/.482 showing, locking him in as a core long-term piece for the retooling franchise.