Amidst all the tragedy and misfortune being caused by COVID-19, one tiny silver lining in the baseball world is that the delayed start to the season gives injured players more time to recuperate. One such player is Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who underwent right shoulder surgery in January.
Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer spoke to Reds manager David Bell about various injured Reds players and how they are handling their rehab programs in isolation. (The team shut down their spring training facility after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, meaning that the players have all gone home, or wherever it is they prefer to train.) When asked about Suarez, Bell had this to say. “Right on track, and by next week he will be resuming all his throwing, fielding and swinging. He’s a guy that we were pretty optimistic that he had a strong chance to be ready for Opening Day. Now, he’ll have a lot more time.”
Just before spring training was suspended on March 12, Suarez was set to DH in a game, with his readiness for Opening Day still in question. Now that the season has been pushed back, he should have ample opportunity to get into shape for when games resume, whenever that may be.
And while it is surely welcome news for the Reds that one of their best players is getting healthy, this could have the side effect of further crowding the battle for playing time and roster spots among some of the less-experienced members of the team. Players such as Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Josh VanMeter, Phil Ervin, Kyle Farmer, Alex Blandino, Travis Jankowski and Scott Schebler could be battling for just four seats on the bench next to backup catcher Curt Casali.