Due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Jonathan India was placed on the Reds’ 10-day injured list back on July 29. The second baseman was initially hopeful that just a minimal 10-day break was all that was required to get him back onto the field, yet now the rest of India’s season could be in question. As manager David Bell and GM Nick Krall told reporters (including The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Gordon Wittenmyer), another MRI revealed that the tear in India’s plantar fascia has gotten worse, resulting in more discomfort for India.
More tests and a second medical opinion is forthcoming, yet for now, Bell said India will be shut down from running for the next two weeks. From there, India will then begin a rehab period that should last 10-14 days, so the second baseman will now miss at least a portion of September. Bell acknowledged that this timeline represents a best-case scenario, and Krall described the situation as “wait-and-see,” so there is definitely plenty of uncertainty surrounding whether or not India can return before the 2023 campaign is over.
“My message to [India] was to sit out the two weeks and then do everything we can to get you back for the end of the season and the playoffs. There’s still a lot left to shoot for to get back for, even if it is towards the end of the season,” Bell said.
Ominously, India said in July that he finally opted to go on the 10-day IL since “I can’t make this worse. If it’s worse, I’m out the whole year.” Two weeks later, it seems as though this exact scenario might have happened, if the plantar fascia tear has become even more of an issue. India’s previous attempt to fight through the pain was clearly having an adverse effect on his play, as he had hit only .202/.287/.333 in his last 129 plate appearances prior to his IL placement.
Even with India struggling, the Reds as a whole didn’t start to stumble until India was actually gone from the active roster. Cincinnati is 2-8 in the month of August, going from the NL Central lead at the start of the month to falling into third place between the division-leading Brewers and the red-hot Cubs. A lack of pitching has been the bigger issue than the lineup with or without India, but the Reds will need all hands on deck on both the pitching and hitting fronts if they are to end this skid and get back into a playoff position. If the Reds have fallen further out of the race by mid-September and India still hasn’t made clear progress in his recovery, it seems quite possible that the team could shut him down entirely until Spring Training.
With so many good young position players joining the team, the Reds technically haven’t had a problem filling in for India, as Matt McLain has played second base, Elly De La Cruz has played shortstop, and Spencer Steer has gotten a large portion of the time at third base. This looks to be the preferred alignment for the rest of the season until India is back, leaving Cincinnati even more reliant on its young core group. Though India is only in his third MLB season, he has quickly become a leader within the Reds’ clubhouse, so his absence creates a void even beyond his on-field contributions.