Solano set for IL stint, Reds eye backup SS

Sanmartin earns starting rotation spot; OF picture takes shape with cuts

March 30th, 2022

MESA, Ariz. -- A left hamstring injury will prevent infielder Donovan Solano from being on the Reds' Opening Day roster and will have the club going over its options for a backup shortstop behind Kyle Farmer.

Solano was hurt during Tuesday’s 7-1 win vs. the Rangers trying to run from first base on a single. There is not a timeline for his return, but he will open the regular season on the injured list.

“I tried to accelerate a little more to get to third, and I felt something in my left hamstring grab me. That’s why I stopped at second,” Solano said.

“He responded well overnight, so we’re not talking about him being ready for Opening Day, but it may not be very long after that,” Reds manager David Bell said. “That was encouraging that he responded as well as he did. Trainers are encouraged by that.”

Behind Farmer, the Reds have no healthy natural shortstops on the 40-man roster. Jose Barrero is recovering from surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his left wrist. The only other player with limited experience at shortstop is non-roster invite Brandon Drury.

“Brandon knows his situation. He knows he has a real shot to make the team,” Bell said. “Nothing has been decided yet. That does put him in a good position -- the fact that he can play shortstop.”

There are no plans to give center fielder Nick Senzel, a former infielder, any time at shortstop.

“For now, we need Nick to settle in and keep doing what he’s doing,” Bell said. “We’re not going to change that plan.”

General manager Nick Krall will continue to keep an eye outside the organization for potential backup shortstops.

“This has been our offseason in Spring Training,” Krall said. “We’ve been continually trying to remake this roster on the fly and continue to see how we get better. We have roughly a week to go before Opening Day, so we have to see what happens and what’s available.”

Solano, who signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Reds on March 20, has 42 games of big league experience at shortstop over eight seasons. When he returns, he believes he could get up to speed there.

“It’s something I’ve played before,” Solano said. “I think the more reps I have, the more comfortable I will get.”

Sanmartin excited to make team
The Reds announced their starting rotation Wednesday, but lefty Reiver Sanmartin was informed by Bell before his start Tuesday against the Rangers that he had made the big league rotation.

“It was an exciting moment,” Sanmartin said via translator Jorge Merlos. “I already made my debut last year, but this is my first time making the team to begin the season. I was proud and I was very happy I got that call.”

During the win over Texas, Sanmartin pitched three innings with one unearned run allowed on one hit, with one strikeout. In two games -- including the one start -- he has yet to allow an earned run.

Sanmartin was 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two big league starts -- both vs. the Pirates -- in the final weeks of last season.

“I don’t know the secret to what he does, but he really has a knack for getting guys out,” Bell said. “Some guys just have that. You could face them 30 times and still not figure out why they’re getting you out. That’s how I see him. I think that gives him a lot of confidence. The more he does it at this level -- getting big league hitters out -- the more that confidence will grow."

Friedl among latest cuts
The Reds made three spring roster cuts Wednesday by optioning outfielder TJ Friedl to Triple-A Louisville and reassigning veteran outfielder/first baseman Jake Bauers and outfielder Albert Almora Jr. to Minor League camp.

Friedl, who ranks as the Reds' No. 30 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was 5-for-16 (.313) with two home runs -- including one Tuesday -- this spring.

“He had a great camp,” Bell said of Friedl. “For him, he did everything he could, and the fit on our team didn’t make sense right now. There was nothing more he could do. Now he has to just continue that and stay ready. He’s definitely impressed all of us. He just seems like a different player now from a couple of years ago, which is how it’s supposed to work -- the development. He’s a big league player right now that can help us. No doubt about that.”

With Friedl and Almora cut, the Reds have six outfielders remaining on their spring roster. The final outfield spot could come down either Aristides Aquino or Shogo Akiyama -- if Cincinnati carries 14 position players on the 28-man roster.