SAN DIEGO -- Not only did the Reds enter Tuesday with a seven-game losing streak, but it’s also getting even more difficult for manager David Bell to piece together a lineup to help snap the skid. Cincinnati added two more players to the injured list to bring its 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 on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain, retroactive to Saturday. Third baseman Mike Moustakas joined India on the 10-day IL with a right biceps strain after he was scratched from the lineup vs. the Padres on Monday.
“We just move forward,” Bell said. “You deal with this kind of stuff playing this game. It’s a physical game. Guys get injured. We’ve had a few all happen the same day, which makes it a little more challenging, but nothing we haven’t faced before.”
Outfielder TJ Friedl was recalled from Triple-A Louisville and infielder JT Riddle had his contract selected from Louisville to replace the injured players. Friedl, who impressed during Spring Training, immediately went into the starting lineup, leading off and playing center fielder vs. San Diego on Tuesday evening.
“There’s no hesitation there,” Bell said. “We’ve gotten to know TJ enough now to know he can step in and help us.”
“I was kind of scared, honestly,” India said on Tuesday. “It was the first time I was ever scared to go back out there. I didn't want to blow it out. I've never had a hamstring injury.”
India spent pregame time Monday on the field taking batting practice and running. But he was not going to be ready to play in the remaining games of the series with the Padres.
“The reasoning is I haven't built up to what I'm supposed to be at,” India said. “If they want me to take this weekend and build myself up back to being the player that I am, because I'm not just going to go out there and play 80%. I feel great.”
India will be eligible for activation on April 26, when the Reds will be hosting the Padres.
“He’s just 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 significantly any time before Tuesday. So it was just worth going ahead and playing it safe.”
With Moustakas out, Colin Moran and Drury likely will handle third base. Originally, Bell hoped Moustakas would be able to play on Tuesday. That changed once Moustakas underwent another examination.
“There’s enough concern to put him on the 10-day IL, but we don’t think it’s something that’s going to keep him out 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 with no need for double switches or pinch-hitting for the pitcher.
“Not ideal when you don’t have a full bench, but a lot easier to go into the game and say we’re a little short tonight,” Bell said. “If it was a game without the DH, that would be tough to go this long of a stretch without guys fully available off the bench.”