GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In a situation that will change the look of their lineup and infield, the Reds revealed Saturday that All-Star second baseman Scooter Gennett has a right groin strain and is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks.
Reds manager David Bell plans to have shortstop Jose Peraza move over to second base to play the majority of games there in Gennett’s absence. Backup infielder Jose Iglesias will become the starting shortstop. The club also plans to bring catcher/infielder Kyle Farmer back after he was one of Friday’s roster cuts to take the final bench spot.
Gennett was injured during Friday’s game vs. the Brewers while fielding a second-inning ground ball from Yasmani Grandal and had to be helped off of the field.
An MRI exam revealed the severity of the injury. Bell was there when the medical staff gave Gennett the results of the tests.
“He was in a lot of pain. He’s a tough guy, so seeing him in that much pain definitely made us concerned,” Bell said. “Now it’s just thinking positive and trying to shift for that eight weeks. He has a great attitude already about it.”
Although Peraza has made defensive improvements this spring at shortstop, the middle infield will be stronger with Iglesias at shortstop. The 2015 All-Star, who was signed Feb. 23 to a Minor League contract, batted .269/.310/.389 with five home runs in 125 games for the Tigers last season. But he contributed 2.2 Wins Above Replacement per Baseball-Reference, thanks in large part to his defensive work at shortstop.
Once officially added to the roster, Iglesias will earn $2.5 million this season with the chance to make an additional $1 million in bonus money based on games played.
“The good thing is we’ve brought in some guys that made the team that are really going to help us weather this and get through this,” Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said. “Iglesias has been an everyday shortstop before in the big leagues. [Derek] Dietrich has been an everyday second baseman and played around. Peraza has started at second for us in the past, and there a lot of scouts that say that’s been his best position in the past.”
Top prospect Nick Senzel, who was also cut on Friday, will still go to Triple-A Louisville and continue to play center field. Senzel, a natural infielder, competed for the center-field job but lost out to Scott Schebler.
“He’s going to continue on the great trajectory that he’s on,” Williams said of Senzel. “This just affects our infield. I think we’ve talked to Farmer about the flexibility that he can give us off the bench.”
Regardless of who replaces Gennett, a very important piece of the lineup will be missing for at least two months. Two seasons ago, after the Reds claimed him off waivers from the Brewers, he set career highs with 27 home runs and 97 RBIs.
Last season, Gennett batted .310/.357/.490 with 23 home runs and 92 RBIs while being valued at 4.2 WAR. It was possible that he would lead off this season, but he could have batted anywhere in the first six spots in the batting order. Bell wasn’t ready to divulge how he would reconfigure the lineup.
“I haven’t got there yet,” he said.
Bell had a conversation with Peraza to let him know about the change of plans for him. Before the decision was made, there was concern about interrupting the progress he’s made as a hitter and a shortstop.
“He is improving rapidly. And he is already a really good player,” Bell said. “He’s making improvements every day at shortstop. He’s just maturing in a lot of ways. Definitely it was a consideration and we kind of went into the room approaching it as a conversation and his willingness and the fact that he’s such a team player made it really an easy conversation.
“He was just willing to do what it takes to help us win. You can’t say enough about how great it is to have a room full of guys like that.”