Herrera: Lingering shoulder issues are over

Reds infielder out to show versatility, earn reserve role; Price praises Pennington

February 16th, 2018

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For most of his brief tenure in the Reds' organization, second baseman has been plagued by a sore right shoulder. Herrera felt that those issues were finally behind him.
"Everything is good," Herrera said Friday. "I am feeling really better, much better than last year. I'm ready to work."
Herrera, who was acquired from the Mets on Aug. 1, 2016, for , hurt his shoulder shortly after the deal and it prevented him from being a September callup from Triple-A Louisville. The injury still affected him at Reds camp last spring to where he could hit but not play the field.
The 2017 season at Louisville saw Herrera limited to 68 games because of a shoulder impingement. Exactly one year after the day of his trade from the Mets, he had season-ending surgery to debride his shoulder.
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Herrera, who will turn 24 on March 3, is still young, but is already out of Minor League options. That could put the Reds in a tough position later in camp. If he doesn't earn a spot on the 25-man roster, he would have to clear waivers first before he can be sent back to Louisville and could get claimed. Herrera is hoping to earn a spot on the bench.
"I will stick to working hard and doing my best every day. I will wait for my opportunity," Herrera said.
With the exception of three games at third base last season, Herrera has exclusively played second base the past three years. He's locked there by Scooter Gennett, and hoping he can show off some versatility this spring to earn a spot.
"I'm taking ground balls at shortstop and third base, too, because I think I can play there," Herrera said. "We have to be ready for more than one position. We have to be ready for everything. If I have to move, I am going to be ready."
However, manager Bryan Price noted the club will proceed cautiously about moving Herrera.
"First thing we're going to do is start him at second base so he's making his natural throws, the issues that we've had so far have been shoulder/throwing related," Price said. "We want to make sure he's healthy. If the arm's healthy in competition and in practice and in games, we can take a look at some other options to create opportunities to help the club."
Price excited to have Pennington
Price was hoping the Reds would sign a backup shortstop during the offseason to play behind , and was pleased when the news came Thursday that free-agent infielder Cliff Pennington was added via a Minor League deal.

"To be able to land a player like Cliff who's played the position so well defensively is a nice sign for us," Price said.
The Reds did not want to have to consider rushing a shortstop prospect like Blake Trahan or Alfredo Rodriguez to the Majors if something happened to Peraza.
"Because they're best suited to play defensively but may not be ready offensively to do it," Price said. "[That] may fracture their development by getting them here too soon. So having an experienced player to come compete for that role is exciting. The depth is important."
Price was also not in favor of using third baseman , a former shortstop, to back up.

"I think he is becoming an elite third baseman in the league, I really do," Price said of Suarez. "That's not to say that he couldn't do it at shortstop. You could put him up against anybody at third base defensively right now. I think he competes against anybody in baseball right now, defensively. Moving those players, sometimes you do it out of necessity. But we would do that reluctantly and hopefully, not regretfully."
Worth noting
Non-roster right-hander Rafael DePaula has arrived in camp after he was delayed by visa issues leaving the Dominican Republic.
Right-hander Jake Ehret, who split last season with Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Pensacola and pitched in the Arizona Fall League, received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League drug prevention and treatment program.