Winker progressing; DeShields; Miggy/Votto

September 3rd, 2021

CINCINNATI -- David Bell sounded an optimistic tone Friday regarding the status of Jesse Winker.

“He's definitely progressing,” the Reds skipper said of his star outfielder’s recovery from an intercostal strain that landed him on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 16.

“He's getting closer. [His rehab] is going to ramp up -- the swinging, the throwing, the baseball activity. He could be a week away from going to play somewhere. I would believe he would benefit from at least a couple games in Triple-A. So I think on the very positive, optimistic end of things, he could be playing by next weekend.”

Winker was slashing .307/.395/.560 with 24 homers and 71 RBIs at the time of his injury, which was re-aggravated in Philadelphia on Aug. 15.

“I just think it's always a good idea, whenever possible,” Bell said of sending Winker out on a rehab assignment. “We're going to be anxious to get him back for sure, but there’s a different amount of adrenaline no matter what you do when you're playing here. So from a health standpoint, it's probably better. Hopefully, we will be beyond any concerns there. It's more about just the timing, getting his rhythm at the plate and being able to do that in a situation where the results don't matter quite as much.”

Speedy DeShields

After starting the second game of Wednesday’s seven-inning doubleheader and going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, Delino DeShields got his second straight start with his new team Friday as Bell inserted him into the lineup, batting eighth and playing center field against Detroit lefty Tyler Alexander.

“There's a few reasons. It was nice to get him in there the other day,” Bell said. "Just getting him in with his new team. We have a lot of left-handers coming up still we're going to be facing. He’s also a very experienced player. He's shown that he's a good, good outfielder, covers a lot of ground in center field. We saw his speed come into play the other night, take an extra base a couple of times. ... We don't have a ton of speed. So that's nice.”

Need more Joey and Miggy in MLB

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch can appreciate greatness from both sides. He made that much clear before Friday’s series opener when he raved about Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto, the two first basemen on display this weekend at Great American Ball Park.

"Awesome matchup, great personalities,” Hinch said. “They showcase it. They are themselves through and through. From the other side, I love Joey Votto. I love how he interacts, engages with the fans. I love his rants on the umpires. I love his eloquent answers when he's interviewed. He's one of the few players around the league that when I see that there's been an interview with him, I will click on it and listen to it from start to finish. He’s super bright, passionate. He's obviously a folk hero here in Cincinnati and has had an incredible career in how he's gone about it.”

Hinch said Cabrera and Votto represent precisely what the sport could use more of.

"They're just charismatic players, both of them, that quite honestly, I think we could use more of around the league to loosen up and enjoy being kids out here."

Eugenio Suárez has a special place in his heart for Cabrera, too. When Cabrera reached the historic milestone of 500 home runs last week, his fellow Venezuelan countryman took note and recalled their time together in the Tigers' organization when Cabrera was already a star and Suárez was working his way up in the Minors.

"I spent all my Minor League career watching Miggy, even when I was home in Venezuela,” Suárez said. “And I feel so proud that he has 500 home runs.

“I learned so much how to respect the game, how to play this game in the right way. I've always got Miggy in my mind because we were always talking baseball. We were always talking about hitting."