Late March has not been kind to the Cincinnati Reds, especially on the pitching end of things.
After having surgery on Feb. 14 to repair cartilage in his left knee, Mat Latos does not look like he will be ready for the start of the season. This could be detrimental to the Reds in the beginning of the season, because Johnny Cueto is also battling shoulder problems. If both of them are not ready for the regular season, the Reds’ rotation will seriously suffer. Cueto is the No. 1 pitcher at the top of the rotation, the club’s ace, and Latos could also be labeled as another ace at the No. 2 spot. Relievers Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall are also expected to start the season on the disabled list, as well as closer Aroldis Chapman. The impact of each injury:
Aroldis Chapman: The “Cuban missle” is out 6-10 weeks after getting struck in the face by a line drive off a bat while he was pitching in a game this past week. This is a tough loss for the Reds as they will be without their top notch closer for the first few months of the season. Not only will this injury physically set Chapman back, but you have to think that psychologically he is a little scared to go back out there after getting smacked in the face. Hopefully for Cincinnati, Chapman won’t let it phase him when he gets back on the mound and will continue throwing at his high velocity.
Jonathan Broxton & Sean Marshall: Broxton still hasn’t recovered from surgery from last season and Marshall has been having shoulder problems all spring. Losing both of these guys is a tough loss for the bullpen because they are both lefty set up men. Broxton could have filled in at closer for Chapman, but now since both are out with injuries it looks like the Reds are going to have a closer-by-committee, which is going to be even smaller now because of the ramifications of the Latos injury.
Mat Latos: This injury may be the worst for the Reds because of the jumbling it does to the rotation and the bullpen. As of now, it looks like Alfredo Simon is going to be called from the bullpen to fill the starting role of Latos. This move further depletes the bull pen. The four main arms remaining the bull pen are JJ Hoover, Sam Lecure, Manny Parra, and Logan Ondrusek. The bullpen has been one of the Reds’ strongest points the past few years, so hopefully this season it will be able to carry the team for at least the first two months or so.
The numerous pitching injuries the Reds are facing are problematic, but the good news is it is only the beginning of a very long season and none of the injuries are too serious. By mid-May to June the Reds should be back to normal, with a healthy bunch of starters and relievers.