2:58PM: Reds manager David Bell spoke with The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith and other reporters about Fraley’s injury, saying a play in Thursday’s game “re-aggravated” the issue and “pushed him to a point where it’s a different type of pain.” In terms of when the outfielder might be back, “we still haven’t pinpointed a time frame, which is actually good. He’s still trying to get all the information. In [Fraley’s] mind, he’s trying to get back in a few weeks, which is great. That’s how I’m going to think about it.”
10:10AM: The Reds placed outfielder Jake Fraley on the 10-day injured list due to a stress fracture in his left fourth toe. The club also announced that outfielder TJ Hopkins was called up from Triple-A, and that right-hander Lyon Richardson was added to the taxi squad in advance of his planned start on Sunday.
The IL placement is retroactive to August 4, as Fraley didn’t play in Cincinnati’s 6-3 loss to Washington yesterday. The nature and severity of the injury isn’t yet known, but it would certainly seem like Fraley will miss well beyond 10 days, leaving a notable hole in the Reds lineup. This is the second straight year that Fraley has been sidelined by a toe injury, as while rehabbing a knee injury in 2022, his time on the IL was extended due to a toe issue suffered during rehab.
Between the injuries and the fact that the Reds use Fraley almost exclusively against right-handed pitching, he has played in only 160 games since Cincinnati acquired the outfielder as part of the Eugenio Suarez/Jesse Winker trade with the Mariners in March 2022. When he has been able to play, however, Fraley has been a productive bat, hitting .261/.345/.467 with 27 homers over 574 plate appearances — that works out to a 116 wRC+ over essentially the equivalent of one full season. Playing both corner outfield positions, Fraley has been a very useful platoon option for the Reds to mix and match in their outfield.
Hopkins has a .367 OPS over 25 PA in his rookie season, plus as a right-handed bat, he’s an imperfect fill-in option for Fraley’s specific role. Nick Senzel and Stuart Fairchild (also right-handed hitters) figure to get more playing time in Fraley’s absence, or the Reds could continue to give Spencer Steer regular looks in left field.
As much as the Reds’ influx of young talent was seemingly going to create a crunch for playing time, injuries have now provided an unfortunate solution to that issue. Fraley joins Jonathan India on the 10-day IL, and while India was at least hopeful of a quick return, Cincinnati is now missing two experienced bats in the midst of a playoff race. The Reds are on a four-game losing streak, and are 9-12 since the All-Star break.