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Senzel ramping up baseball activities

@m_sheldon
April 10, 2019

CINCINNATI -- Top Reds prospect and center fielder Nick Senzel has been making progress in his efforts to return from a sprained right ankle. After he shed a protective boot last week, Senzel has resumed several baseball activities. “Nick has been throwing long toss, has begun running on the field,

CINCINNATI -- Top Reds prospect and center fielder Nick Senzel has been making progress in his efforts to return from a sprained right ankle. After he shed a protective boot last week, Senzel has resumed several baseball activities.

“Nick has been throwing long toss, has begun running on the field, hitting off a tee, completing lower body lifts and is working on change of direction in the pool,” Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams said on Wednesday. “We anticipate live at-bats [Thursday]. We are pleased with the progress.”

Senzel, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Reds’ No. 1 prospect and No. 6 overall, was one of the final cuts from Cincinnati’s Spring Training roster. Although an infielder with no outfield experience, he made a strong showing in the competition for the regular center-field job before coming up short against Scott Schebler.

On March 25, during a Minor League game in Arizona, Senzel’s spike caught in the dirt as he slid into second base and caused him to sprain his ankle. The 23-year-old spent nearly two weeks in the boot.

Once healthy, Senzel is expected to play at Triple-A Louisville to continue gaining experience in center field until he’s ready for his first big league callup.

Wood update
Williams also reported progress for lefty starting pitcher Alex Wood, who has not pitched in a game since Feb. 25 because of a sore lower back. Wood threw on back-to-back days for the first time in a few weeks and has improved. The club will wait to see how Wood responds to the increased workload before determining his next step.

Bell impressed with Castillo
Reds manager David Bell had to watch starting pitcher Luis Castillo's dominant effort in Tuesday's 14-0 victory over Miami from the executive’s suite at Great American Ball Park. Bell, who was serving a one-game suspension, saw Castillo throw seven innings with two hits, one walk and eight strikeouts.

Through three starts and 19 2/3 innings, the 26-year-old Castillo is 1-1 with an 0.92 ERA and 0.66 WHIP. Opposing hitters are batting .082.

“He's so mature for a young pitcher,” Bell said on Wednesday. “He started a little bit slow in Spring Training, and he had a plan all along. His timing was just right. Even though this wasn't the goal, he responded to [getting] the Opening Day start. I think he really, it gave him a boost.

“He just kind of picked it up a notch and took it to another level with his preparation. He just came in ready to go from day one, and I think it's carried over.”

Bell stopped short of calling Castillo the rotation’s ace, but there is certainly that vibe in the way the right-hander has started this season after finishing very strong in 2018.

“I think they all believe they're the ace, and I think they should,” Bell said. “I don't think he's looking at it like separating himself from the rest of the group, but for a young pitcher on a staff and rotation of really experienced pitchers that have had success, for him to see himself as one of the best and having an opportunity to pitch Opening Day, I think from a confidence standpoint it did have something to do with the start that he's gotten off to.”

Worth noting
Through their first 10 games of this season with a 2-8 record, the Reds scored 35 runs while allowing 34. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in Major League history that a team began a season by outscoring its opponents through 10 games while notching as few as two wins.

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.