The Reds announced they’ve activated outfielder Aristides Aquino from the 60-day injured list. Fellow outfielder Mark Payton was optioned to Triple-A Louisville to create active roster space. To open a 40-man roster spot for Aquino, utilityman Nick Senzel was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day IL.
Aquino fractured the hamate bone in his left hand in mid-April. The break required a surgical repair, and the 27-year-old ultimately wound up missing two months. Prior to the injury, Aquino had served as something of a designated pinch-hitter, coming off the bench in all ten of his appearances. With Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos having incredible seasons in the corner outfield, Aquino figures to assume that role once again.
The Reds are in a bit of a bind when it comes to Aquino. He burst onto the MLB scene in 2019, hitting a staggering 14 home runs in 115 plate appearances that August. Aquino really struggled over that season’s final month, though, and he didn’t perform at the start of 2020 either. Ultimately, he spent a good portion of last year at the alternate training site. He’s not a natural fit in center field, and with Winker, Castellanos and Joey Votto ahead of him on the depth chart at the bottom of the defensive spectrum, there’s not been much of an opportunity for manager David Bell to give Aquino everyday run.
Aquino is out of minor league option years, meaning the Reds can’t send him to Louisville without designating him for assignment. Given the promise he flashed as a rookie, Cincinnati hasn’t wanted to run the risk of losing him for little or no return on waivers or via a small trade. That dilemma will likely keep him on the Reds bench for now.
Senzel was placed on the injured list on May 21, retroactive to May 19. The transfer rules him out for 60 days from the time of his original IL placement- not today- so he won’t be eligible to return to the majors until mid-July. The 25-year-old, who has dealt with a barrage of health problems throughout his professional career, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee shortly after going on the IL.
The procedure originally came with a four-to-six week rest period. There’s no indication that’s meaningfully changed. He’ll surely need to go on a minor league rehab assignment before getting back to the big leagues. If he’d been tracking towards the latter end of his projected timeline anyhow, there’s little harm for the Reds in moving him to the 60-day IL and giving him an extra few days to rehab, particularly considering his injury history.