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Schebler 'frustrated' by effects of HBP; no DL yet

Outfielder, hit in elbow last Sunday, still lacking feeling in fingers
MLB.com @m_sheldon

PITTSBURGH -- Reds outfielder Scott Schebler thought it was a routine hit-by-pitch on his right elbow Sunday vs. the Nationals. Schebler can't believe he's still not able to play, as he was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game on Saturday vs. the Pirates.

"I'm frustrated, that's the best word," Schebler said.

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PITTSBURGH -- Reds outfielder Scott Schebler thought it was a routine hit-by-pitch on his right elbow Sunday vs. the Nationals. Schebler can't believe he's still not able to play, as he was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game on Saturday vs. the Pirates.

"I'm frustrated, that's the best word," Schebler said.

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It was reliever Sean Doolittle's 94-mph fastball that apparently knocked the ulnar nerve in Schebler's elbow. He's lost the feeling in his right pinky and part of his ring finger.

"It's just kind of numb. I have strength in it," Schebler said. "I guess the best way to describe it is it's like when you go to the dentist and get novocaine. You feel your cheek is there, but you can't really control it."

For the past few days, Schebler has taken batting practice on the field with the hope he could return to the lineup or come off of the bench and pinch-hit. But not having feeling in his fingers affects his swing.

"Yeah, because I get to a certain spot where I usually let go of the bat. Then I don't feel it, so it feels like I'm about to throw it," Schebler said. "Then I make a different move than I normally do. It's kind of freaky, to be honest.

"I fully expected to be back the next day. I get hit by pitches all the time. That's never a problem for me, but I guess it just hit me in a spot -- you can rehab it all you want, but you have to wait for the nerve to come back."

Schebler bats lefty but throws right-handed. The injury also affects his ability to make throws.

"When I throw, I can't spin the baseball," Schebler said. "Whatever grip I get, that's what you're getting. I have no idea where it's going."

For the struggling Reds, who have lacked offense the first week of this season, Schebler's injury is a big blow. He was the team's best hitter in Spring Training and opened the season by going 4-for-12 with a home run in his three games before the injury.

The club is contemplating putting Schebler on the 10-day disabled list, but even that is a somewhat tricky situation.

"It's a tough call because he can only backdate [the DL move] three days, so as soon as you sign on for that, it becomes a week," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I would say that might be directly correlated to how our bullpen holds up, how our starters do, how fresh we keep the bullpen. It's been, really, a painstakingly slow process to recover from that hit-by-pitch. I don't even know when to expect him back."

When Schebler does return to the lineup, he will be using a new protective shield over his elbow.

"I'm going to start wearing it in BP to get used to it," Schebler said. "I don't want this to happen again."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Scott Schebler