Senzel: No timetable for big league promotion

Gennett walking in clubhouse; Wood throwing bullpen sessions

April 25th, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The highly anticipated first big league promotion of baseball’s No. 1 prospect, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., is happening when he joins the Blue Jays on Friday. Reds fans have been just as antsy to see the Reds' No. 1 prospect -- and No. 5 overall -- Nick Senzel reach the big leagues.

But for those seeking a timetable on when Senzel might be promoted from Triple-A Louisville to play in Cincinnati, there isn’t one.

“It hasn’t been determined yet,” Reds manager David Bell said on Thursday before the Reds' 4-2 win over the Braves. “I don’t think it would be fair to anyone. Right now, Nick is playing in Louisville. He needs to, No. 1, get the confidence that he’s healthy, and [then] we’ll go from there. I think it’s kind of day to day in a way.

“No matter what happens as far as a timetable for him to get called up, he needs to have a process of getting [his] timing, getting some experience in the outfield, which was the point of him being sent to Triple-A in the first place. He never got that time, so I think it will all work itself out. This is an important time for him to get his at-bats, to get playing time in the outfield.”

Senzel, 23, competed for the regular center fielder job during Spring Training after a college and pro career spent entirely in the infield. He appeared to have a decent handle on the new position before he was one of the final cuts in camp.

The plan got sidetracked on March 25. During a Minor League game in Arizona, Senzel’s spikes got caught in the dirt during a slide into second base. Diagnosed with an ankle sprain, he spent nearly two weeks in a walking boot before resuming baseball activity in extended spring.

Guerrero Jr. missed most of Spring Training with an oblique injury and played in only eight games for Triple-A Buffalo before being told Wednesday he was being called up and will become Toronto’s starting third baseman. In those eight games, Guerrero batted .367 with three home runs, a double and eight RBIs in his 30 at-bats.

Activated from Louisville’s injured list on Tuesday, Senzel is 2-for 8 with a run scored in two games. On Wednesday, he led off a game vs. Durham with a ground-rule double to center field and scored. These were his first regular season games since June, when he suffered a fractured right index finger that required season-ending surgery.

Senzel was not in Louisville’s starting lineup on Thursday.

“He’s moving well. He’s healthy,” Bell said. “He’s had a couple of hits. More than anything, he’s moving well. He’s had a good frame of mind. I think it’s important not to look too close at what he does in the first couple of days and give him a chance. All reports have been really good. Nothing negative. No concern with his ankle or any other concerns.”

Injury reports

• Reds second baseman , who was expected to miss 2-to-3 months after he suffered a severe strain of his right groin on March 22, has been off his crutches and walking around often in the home clubhouse. Gennett has not started any baseball activities and there isn’t yet a target date for when he might return.

“He’s definitely been in a positive frame of mind. He is still a ways away,” Bell said. “I keep asking the same questions. I don’t think anyone knows for sure or [will] try to predict that too much because he has progressed faster than it could have been. We’ll see.”

• Reds pitcher (lower back spasms), threw in his second bullpen session on Wednesday in Goodyear, Ariz., and has another session slated for this weekend.

Welsh apologizes to Albies

Before Thursday’s game, Fox Sports Ohio Reds television analyst Chris Welsh entered the Braves clubhouse to apologize to second baseman Ozzie Albies for comments he made during Wednesday’s broadcast.

Welsh was discussing the seven-year, $35 million contract extension that Albies recently signed. Welsh insensitively questioned whether the 21-year-old Curacao native’s background influenced his willingness to accept the deal. 

“A lot of people are blaming the agent for letting him sign a deal like that,” Welsh said during the broadcast. “But Albies came from a very poor background, he’s from Curaçao, and when somebody offers you $35 million -- he may not know the difference between $35 million and $85 million.”

Albies shook Welsh’s hand at the end of their brief conversation and then said he considered the matter to be over. Welsh also issued an apology to viewers during Thursday’s broadcast.