SAN DIEGO – Not only did the Reds go into Tuesday on a seven-game losing streak, but it’s also getting harder for manager David Bell to assemble a lineup to help slip. Cincinnati added two more players to the injured list to bring their total to 12, which leads the major leagues in that dubious category.
Second baseman Jonathan India – the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year – went to 10-day IL with a sprained right hamstring, retroactive to Saturday. Third baseman Mike Moustakas joined India in the 10-day IL with a right bicep strain after he was dropped from the lineup against the Padres on Monday.
“We just moved on,” Bell said. “You deal with that kind of thing by playing this game. It’s a physical game. Guys get hurt. We had a few on the same day, which makes it a little more challenging, but nothing we haven’t tackled before.”
Outfielder TJ Friedl was recalled from Triple-A Louisville and infielder JT Riddle had his contract selected in Louisville to replace the injured players. Friedl, who impressed during Spring Training, immediately made the starting lineup, leading and playing as a center fielder against San Diego on Tuesday night.
“There’s no hesitation in that,” Bell said. “We know TJ well enough now to know he can step in and help us.”
On Monday, outfielder Tyler Naquin also came to IL with an undisclosed issue. Center fielder Nick Senzel, who was activated from COVID IL on Monday, was out of the lineup for the seventh straight game on Tuesday but was seen as available off the bench.
Without India, the Reds recently called up infielder Alejo Lopez and can use Brandon Drury and Riddle there as well. During a 9-3 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday, India was injured running through an infield single and was lifted by a pinch-runner.
“I was kind of scared, honestly,” India said Tuesday. “It was the first time I was afraid to go back there. I didn’t want to blow it up. I have never had a hamstring injury.”
India spent pre-game time on Monday on the field practicing batting and running. But he wouldn’t be ready to play in the remaining games in the series with the Padres.
“The reasoning is that I didn’t get where I should be,” India said. “If they want me to enjoy this weekend and go back to being the player I am, because I’m not just going to play 80%. I feel great.”
India will be eligible for activation on April 26, when the Reds will host the Padres.
“He’s so important to our team,” Bell said. “We got to the point where it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to come back meaningfully until Tuesday. So it was worth going ahead and playing it safe.”
With Moustakas out, Colin Moran and Drury will likely be dealing with third base. Originally, Bell had hoped Moustakas would be able to play on Tuesday. That changed when Moustakas underwent another exam.
“There’s enough concern to put him on the 10-day IL, but we don’t think it’s something that will keep him away in the long term,” Bell said.
Having the designated hitter this season helps the Reds because Bell doesn’t have to use his bench as much, especially without the need for double trades or hits for the pitcher.
“It’s not ideal when you don’t have a full bench, but it’s a lot easier to get in the game and say we’re a little short tonight,” Bell said. “If it was a game without DH, it would be hard to go this far without guys fully available off the bench.”