Reds recall Payton to spell banged-up bench
CINCINNATI -- Nick Senzel is banged up again. Mike Moustakas is still banged up. And Reds manager David Bell was running out of healthy position players. Time will help the first two issues, but Cincinnati hoped that Tuesday’s roster move will remedy the third.
Outfielder Mark Payton was recalled from Triple-A Louisville, while lefty reliever Cionel Pérez was optioned to Louisville. Payton pinch-hit in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Giants and lined out; Moustakas did the same in the eighth and struck out, then stayed in at first base for the remainder of the game. The Reds had been operating with nine relievers in the bullpen and only four bench players since April 23.
“It’s been a pretty extended period of time,” Bell said. “We felt like it was the smart thing to do with all these games, having the nine relievers and being one shorter on the bench. We finally got to the point where we feel the bullpen is in good shape. There’s an off-day in sight.”
Senzel missed one game in Colorado on Friday and came off the bench the following day because of a bruised left heel. He exited a couple of games earlier this season with injuries as well. But on Tuesday, Bell said Senzel was dealing with a sore knee.
“He’s dealt with a few different things. He had a bit of a groin injury, a shoulder. He’s getting through both of those. A little bit of knee soreness last night, and that’s why he’s not in the lineup today,” Bell said. “Nothing serious, thankfully, because he’s playing great. He’ll be back in a matter of a day or two into the lineup but he’s available.”
Moustakas left Friday’s game vs. the Rockies with a right heel bruise and was out of the starting lineup the past three games. He returned to pinch-hit in the eighth inning of Monday’s 6-3 loss to the Giants, drawing a walk, and he played first base in the top of the ninth.
Bell felt that Moustakas was still hurting too much to start.
“That injury, he was in a lot of pain,” Bell said. “He’s getting there. It’s just slower and there’s really nothing he can do to speed it up.”
Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who has been on the 10-day injured list since May 7 because of a fractured left thumb, was slated to get a follow-up X-ray to check his healing progress.
“It’s feeling better,” Bell said. “He continues to work out. I believe he’s going to start moving around a little bit in the field. Very limited baseball activity for now, but he’s getting there.”
It’s not clear yet if or when Votto might do a rehab assignment somewhere in the Minor Leagues when he’s ready to resume full baseball activity.
Farmer moving on from mistakes
Reds utility player Kyle Farmer was back in the lineup and starting at shortstop on Tuesday, going 1-for-3, after making some mistakes as the first baseman in Monday’s loss, a poor performance for Cincinnati’s defense.
In the first inning on Monday, Farmer pulled his foot off the bag on Jonathan India’s throw from second base, fumbling a double play. In the eighth inning, he lost track of Darin Ruf at third base, who scored a run while Austin Slater avoided getting tagged between first and second in a rundown.
“We looked like crap, especially me. I have to turn the page,” Farmer said on Tuesday.
Is it harder to turn the page when one plays multiple positions? Farmer went from an easier infield position on Monday to the most difficult on Tuesday.
“I look at defensive positions as all the same, because I feel like I’m good at all of them,” Farmer said. “Last night, it’s hard to turn the page for me defensively, because I care so much about it. But you have to. We have 162 games, and if you can’t turn the page, you’ll just keep digging a hole. I think that’s what we have to do, defensively and offensively. Every day is a new day, and you try to get better at what you’re doing. That’s the only way to turn the page. Practice harder than you did before and keep going.”