SAN DIEGO — Not only did the Reds enter Tuesday with a seven-game losing streak, but it’s also becoming even more difficult for manager David Bell to build a lineup to help break the skid. Cincinnati added two more players to the injured list to bring its total to 12, which leads the major leagues in this questionable category.
Second baseman Jonathan India – the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year – entered the 10-day IL with right hamstring strain, retroactive to Saturday. Third baseman Mike Moustakas joined India in the 10-day IL with a strained right bicep after being scratched from the lineup against the Padres on Monday.
“We’re just moving forward,” Bell said. “You deal with that stuff by playing this game. It’s a physical game. Guys get hurt. We all had a few on the same day, which makes it a little more difficult, but nothing we’ve ever faced before.
Outfielder TJ Friedl was recalled from Triple-A Louisville and outfielder JT Riddle had his contract selected at Louisville to replace injured players. Friedl, who impressed in spring training, immediately entered the starting lineup, leading and playing center fielder against San Diego on Tuesday night.
“There’s no hesitation there,” Bell said. “We know TJ well enough now to know he can step in and help us.”
On Monday, outfielder Tyler Naquin also went to the IL with an undisclosed issue. Center fielder Nick Senzel, who has been activated since COVID IL on Monday, was out of the lineup for a seventh straight game on Tuesday but was considered available on the bench.
Without India, the Reds recently called up infielder Alejo Lopez and can use Brandon Drury and Riddle there as well. In a 9-3 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday, India was injured running for an infield single and lifted for a pinch runner.
“Honestly, I was a bit scared,” India said on Tuesday. “It was the first time I was scared to go back there. I didn’t want to blow it up. I never had a hamstring injury.
India spent some pre-match time on the pitch on Monday practicing batting and running. But he wasn’t going to be ready to play in the remaining games of the series with the Padres.
“The reasoning is that I haven’t achieved what I’m meant to be,” India said. “If they want me to enjoy this weekend and get back to being the player I am, because I’m not just going to play at 80%. I feel good.”
India will be eligible for activation on April 26, when the Reds host the Padres.
“He’s so important to our team,” Bell said. “We got to the point where it was clear he wasn’t going to be able to come back in any meaningful way until Tuesday. So it was worth going ahead and playing it safe.
With Moustakas out, Colin Moran and Drury will likely take care of third base. Originally, Bell hoped Moustakas would be able to play on Tuesday. This changed once Moustakas underwent another examination.
“There’s enough concern to put him on IL for 10 days, but we don’t think that’s something that’s going to hold him back long term,” Bell said.
Having the designated hitter this season helps the Reds because Bell doesn’t need to use his bench as much, especially without the need for double switches or pitcher pinches.
“It’s not ideal when you don’t have a full bench, but it’s a lot easier to come into the game and say we’re a little short tonight,” Bell said. “If it was a game without DH, it would be difficult to go this far without fully available guys on the bench.”