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Reds Manager Hints at Two Players Who Could Face Season-Ending Surgery

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell fielded questions on Tuesday about the statuses of Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Brandon Williamson. According to Mark Sheldon of, Encarnacion-Strand has ligament damage with his fractured hand. Williamson has a lesion in his shoulder. Both players will be evaluated in the coming days with season-ending surgery possible for each of them.

Reds Encarnacion-Strand, Williamson May Have Season-Ending Surgery

Encarnacion-Strand is missing time with a right hand fracture since May 8. He underwent a follow-up exam on June 5 with Reds doctors that showed he was ready to take the next step in his rehab progression. However, the first basemen opted to get a second opinion before moving forward. Encarnacion-Strand was originally to miss four to six weeks. He tried to play through it, but he was struggling to swing the bat.

Before he got hurt, Encarnacion-Strand had a .190 batting average and a .513 OPS. Last season in 63 games, Encarnacion-Strand hit .270 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI.

On the infield, Spencer Steer has been the regular first baseman of late, Jonathan India at second, Jeimer Candelario at third and Elly De La Cruz at shortstop. If Encarnacion-Strand were healthy, Steer could have been moved to third or DH or a corner outfield spot. That possibility may not even happen for the remainder of the season.

Williamson Shut Down from Throwing

Williamson is on the 60-day IL due to a left shoulder strain. He returned from his rehab assignment in late May and has been shut down from throwing for the time being.

“I think he’s evaluating some options for what’s next,” Bell said.

Williamson has a 0.66 ERA over 12 2/3 innings in four rehab starts, including three with Triple-A Louisville.

“He’s been pitching well but through this whole thing, I don’t think it ever felt perfect,” Bell said. “[The discomfort] never went away. I think it’s increased a little bit.”

It’s bad timing for Williamson, who looked a though he might have a rotation spot to challenge for upon his return. As it stands, the rotation includes Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Frankie Montas and Andrew Abbott.  The Reds are going to need a fifth starter again on June 18 and without Williamson in the mix. Nick Martinez could move from the bullpen to the rotation. Other possibilities include Carson Spiers, who has pitched well for Louisville and out of the Reds bullpen this season. Graham Ashcraft, who was optioned to Louisville on Thursday, would not be a candidate under the rules, as he must stay in the minors for at least 15 days.

Main Photo: © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK


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