McLain aggravates oblique injury, won't return in regular season

September 26th, 2023

CLEVELAND -- The Reds had hoped to have rookie infielder back on Tuesday for their final push for a postseason spot. A setback in McLain's recovery from a right oblique injury has quashed that possibility.

An MRI exam revealed a Grade 2 strain of McLain's oblique, derailing a timetable that initially had the 24-year-old in line to return to the Reds for the series opener against the Guardians.

“It definitely sucks,” McLain said. “But I knew it would be tough to come back, and I knew it was going to be really quick to come back with the level that it was in the first place. I really wanted to, for our team, and it just didn’t happen, unfortunately.”

McLain, who went on the injured list Aug. 28, played two games in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. He noted that he felt pain in his intercostal area during Sunday's game. McLain now won't have a chance to return unless the Reds -- 2 1/2 games out of the National League Wild Card race entering Tuesday -- reach the postseason.

"The best estimate I heard was two to three weeks," Reds manager David Bell said. "That rules out the regular season and we’ll see what happens after that."

Without McLain, the Reds will continue with slumping Elly De La Cruz at shortstop and Jonathan India at second base.

McLain, who was a key part of the Reds' push for a postseason berth since his callup in mid-May, finished his first season with a .290/.357/.507 slash line, 16 homers and 14 steals in 89 games. Cincinnati was 18-22 when he was called up from Louisville on May 15 and went 50-42 until he began his IL stint.

“It sucks to get hurt, and it sucks for my season personally to end like that,” McLain said. “But it’s part of the game."

The best-viewed prescription for McLain's recovery is rest. He is expected to have a normal offseason to be ready for 2024.

"We knew we were pushing as hard as we could to get [McLain] back," Bell said. "We knew there was risk there. It didn’t work out to get back for the regular season. No long-term concerns, nothing like that.”