Reds place Moustakas on IL, recall Schrock

May 20th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- The Reds placed third baseman/first baseman Mike Moustakas on the 10-day injured list Thursday because of a right heel contusion. The move, which is retroactive to Wednesday, puts Cincinnati in a tough spot in regards to first base.

Infielder Max Schrock was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace Moustakas on the 26-man roster. As recently as Wednesday, Reds manager David Bell had expressed optimism that Moustakas would be able to return to the lineup soon.

“I was surprised. I was positive based on the feedback I was getting from Moose,” Bell said on Thursday morning. “I think he just wanted to play so bad. I know he was doing everything he possibly could to get back on the field, to get back in the lineup. But even from Day 1 or Day 2, he made himself available to pinch-hit.

“Every day I would talk to him, he was getting better. [It was] definitely a concern that, by putting him in the games, that I was making it worse. I kept asking that, and he said, ‘No.’ Finally, they just did another exam, and found a little more damage in there.”

Moustakas left Friday’s game in Denver and was out of the starting lineup the past four games. He pinch-hit and played one inning at first base in both of Monday’s and Tuesday’s games.

Cincinnati’s lineup has been hit hard by injuries lately. First baseman Joey Votto has been on the 10-day IL since May 7 with a fractured left thumb, and outfielder Nick Senzel has missed several days with a sore left knee.

When Votto went down, Moustakas shifted from third base to take the bulk of the starts at first base. Catcher Tyler Stephenson made his first professional start at first on Wednesday and utility players Alex Blandino and Kyle Farmer have also received starts there. Veteran catcher Tucker Barnhart also has some limited first-base experience.

“I think it could change day to day,” Bell said. “We really don’t have a guy that their natural position is first base, but we have several guys that can fill in, several guys that can get the opportunity there. So, we’re covered, for sure. It’ll create an opportunity for other players, which is a good thing until Moose comes back. But it could be different. We’ll kind of take it one day at a time there.”

Moustakas, who is batting .241/.337/.437 with four home runs in 28 games, is eligible for activation on May 29.

“It’s not like [it’s] a month or two months,” Bell said. “The goal is to get him back in 10 days, so that was encouraging.”

Senzel returning soon
Senzel has missed the past two games with knee and left heel injuries and was not available on Wednesday to pinch-hit for Shogo Akiyama in an eighth-inning situation that would have called for a right-handed bat against lefty reliever Jake McGee.

“You never know for sure, but I am very confident that he will be available [Thursday], and that he’d be back in the lineup [Friday],” Bell said.

Pleased with Feliz
During Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to the Giants, Michael Feliz retired all four batters he faced in the seventh and eighth inning with three strikeouts while the Reds were trailing by just one run. Feliz, who was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Friday, also worked a scoreless inning vs. San Francisco on Monday.

“Not only did he throw well, but you can kind of see why he’s really well thought of by people and teammates and all that,” Bell said. “He has a really solid presence about him on the mound. That was what I was noticing the most, just as a new player on the team. But he looks healthy. The velo was there and all that, so that was very encouraging to see. Potentially, he becomes a big part of our bullpen.”