CINCINNATI -- The final inning of a lopsided defeat for the Reds became even more unfortunate when a right knee injury forced Alex Blandino out of the game vs. the Pirates in the ninth inning of a 12-1 loss.Runners were on first and second base with no outs when Jordan
CINCINNATI -- The final inning of a lopsided defeat for the Reds became even more unfortunate when a right knee injury forced Alex Blandino out of the game vs. the Pirates in the ninth inning of a 12-1 loss.
Runners were on first and second base with no outs when Jordan Luplow grounded to second base. Blandino, who pinch-hit for starting second baseman Scooter Gennett in the bottom of the eighth and remained in the game, fielded the ball and touched second base.
As Blandino threw to first base, runner Max Moroff tried to break up the double play. Moroff rolled directly into Blandino's knee, and the result was grisly. Blandino immediately grabbed his knee and was in obvious pain on the ground.
"I think what the young man did there was he tried to slide early and not hit Blandino," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "It's muddy and he kind of stuck and rolled. I'm sure he feels terrible about it. We feel terrible about it with Blandino. Hopefully, it's not extremely serious. I don't have much to say about it. The kid wasn't trying to hit him, maybe he could have peeled off or something. But I certainly don't believe he had any attempt to hurt anybody."
Blandino was helped off the field by two trainers. He is expected to undergo an MRI on Saturday to learn the full extent of the injury.
"Hopefully. it's something that will not be too devastating for him," Riggleman said. "But it's certainly very unfortunate."
Cincinnati was out of middle infielders because Riggleman had already taken Gennett and third baseman Eugenio Suarez out of the game.
Backup catcher Curt Casali replaced Blandino at second base -- his first time at that position, and it came immediately after he made his first career appearance as the first baseman to open the ninth. Joey Votto, given the night off from the starting lineup, came in to man first base.
The first batter after the injury, Corey Dickerson, hit a routine ground ball to Casali that was booted for a run-scoring error.
Blandino, 25, notched a single batting for Gennett, which gave him a team-leading nine hits as a pinch-hitter this season. Overall, in 69 games, the rookie is batting .234 with one home run and eight RBIs.
Cincinnati has Dilson Herrera who can play second base. But Blandino is their only true shortstop to play behind starter Jose Peraza. If Blandino has a short-term injury, Peraza could play second base and Suarez, a former shortstop, could slide over from third. But if Blandino needs to go on the disabled list, the Reds have no other shortstops currently on their 40-man roster to take his place. At Triple-A Louisville, shortstop Blake Trahan is batting .224 this season.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.