TJ Friedl was (retroactively) placed on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain on May 12, and the thought at the time was that Friedl might only miss the minimum 10 days, given that the Reds were somewhat on the fence about whether or not to even place him on the IL. As it turns out, Friedl might indeed be back quickly, as manager David Bell told reporters (including the Cincinnati Enquirer’s duo of Charlie Goldsmith and Bobby Nightengale) that Friedl will take live batting practice on Monday, and could be activated from the IL for Tuesday’s game if all goes well following the BP session.
It’s a relief on a few levels for Friedl and the Reds, since even minor oblique injuries can linger for weeks on end, and because Friedl has been a big part of Cincinnati’s lineup. More or less alternating between center and left field, Friedl leads the Reds with 1.2 fWAR, owing to his overall contribution as a defender, baserunner, and hitter. Friedl has hit .306/.351/.468 with three homers over 138 plate appearances, albeit with some good fortune — the outfielder has a .376 BABIP, and his .354 wOBA is far greater than his .283 xwOBA.
Fernando Cruz might also be nearing a return, as the right-hander started a Triple-A rehab assignment today. Cruz has missed the last three weeks due to a shoulder strain, and the team’s plan is to give him three rehab outings before potentially reinstating him from the 15-day injured list next week. Cruz had a 6.59 ERA over 13 2/3 relief innings before hitting the IL, though the last 2 2/3 of those innings (and three of Cruz’s 10 earned runs allowed) came after Cruz said he started to feel discomfort in his throwing shoulder.
The Reds placed Henry Ramos on the 10-day IL yesterday due to a right hip strain, and Bell said that Ramos will receive an MRI on Monday. Friedl’s impending return means that Cincinnati probably won’t be shorthanded in the outfield for too long, but the MRI should reveal how long Ramos might be out of action.
Joey Votto has yet to play this season, but the longtime Reds star might be a bit closer to a return, as he participated in live batting practice with the Reds’ Triple-A club in Louisville today. Votto will be re-evaluated tomorrow as the Reds try to determine whether or not the first baseman might be able to restart his rehab assignment.
After undergoing season-ending rotator cuff and bicep surgery last August, Votto has been taking a cautious path, as his recovery process delayed his Spring Training work. Votto began the season on the 10-day injured list but played 10 games during a Triple-A rehab assignment in April before the assignment was paused, as Votto wasn’t nearly ready to return before the end of his 20-day rehab window. After another month of treatment and ramping up his baseball activities, Votto now looks like he might be able to take the field again in Louisville. The Reds moved Votto to the 60-day IL, so he isn’t eligible to return until the end of May anyway, though he will surely take longer than that to get fully ready.