Senzel's return held up; Brach's 1st Reds save

June 25th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- Before batting practice over the past couple of days, there have been Nick Senzel sightings on the field at Great American Ball Park. The injured center fielder has been doing some throwing and other related work. But the timetable for his return is moving backwards.

Senzel, currently on the 60-day injured list after he had left knee surgery in late May to clean out damaged cartilage on the undersurface of his patella, is now being targeted for a late July return. It was originally hoped he would be ready after the All-Star break -- around his eligible activation date of July 17.

“The amount of days hasn’t been determined, but it’ll be enough to make sure he’s healthy, [he has his] timing back, baseball, all that,” Reds manager David Bell said Friday. “Maybe both can be accomplished sometime in July, but I would think towards the end of July before we would see him back here. That’s a bit of a guess, but just because there’s not an exact clear day right now. He’s definitely progressing the right way, but it’s just taken some time.”

Cincinnati has been fortunate that center field is probably the position with the most depth on the club. Tyler Naquin has emerged as the primary holder of the spot and is enjoying a breakout season. Shogo Akiyama, Aristides Aquino and Scott Heineman have also played there.

At some point, Senzel will go on a Minor League rehab assignment, but that day is not imminent.

“He’s gotten kind of all the swelling out, and he’s adding in more activities, but it’s going to be sometime after the All-Star break before he starts playing,” Bell said. “We still have some time there.”

Brach gets first save for Reds

During Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Braves, Brad Brach pitched a one-hit, scoreless top of the ninth inning for his first save with the Reds. It was Brach’s first save in the big leagues since Sept. 6, 2018 -- while pitching for Atlanta. He had gone 94 appearances between saves.

“That's what everybody wants to do,” Brach said. “They want to close out a game, especially at home, in a save situation. At this point, there's really no roles down there, but I was ready for any situation there, and just really glad to go out there and just be able to shut them down.”

Signed to a Minor League contract by Cincinnati on May 1, Brach was promoted from Triple-A Louisville on May 21. The 35-year-old right-hander entered Friday with a 2.51 ERA in 15 appearances, but he had posted eight consecutive scoreless outings.

Overall, Brach has retired his first batter in 14 of 15 games. After some down seasons, he feels like he has gotten closer to the form that made him an All-Star in 2016 with the Orioles.

“A lot of hard work this offseason,” Brach said. “Just really getting back to the basics and kind of just turning over every stone. Talking to former coaches I've had, talking to coaches that I had with the Royals. I pretty much just talked to anybody that was willing to listen or that had me before, and really just worked hard at it. Just tried to get back to locating my fastball, and that's really where it all started. Being able to locate the fastball down and away to righties, all my success kind of came from there for years. Really, my best pitch was my located fastball, and I kind of lost sight of that these last few years.”