Senzel dealing with tight left hamstring

Gray ready for first Cactus League start

March 7th, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds top prospect and center-field candidate Nick Senzel was out of the lineup again Wednesday, though he was in the lineup on Thursday. Manager David Bell revealed that Senzel is dealing with a tight left hamstring.

Ranked as the organization’s No. 1 prospect and No. 6 overall by MLB Pipeline, Senzel also did not play on Monday. The team had an off-day on Tuesday.

“I would anticipate he will back in there tomorrow or the next day. With the off-day, we held him out [Monday] and today,” Bell said.

At the spring complex Wednesday afternoon, Senzel did outfielder drills and took batting practice.

Senzel, 23, is batting .462 (6-for-13) with three doubles over four games this spring. A natural infielder, he is trying to win the regular center-fielder job in camp as a non-roster player. Scott Schebler is his chief competition.

During games, Senzel hasn’t gotten too many fly balls hit his way, but he’s made all the plays with one exception, on Friday vs. the Giants. He also has been tracking and running to pursue balls that clear the fence for homers.

“It’s almost to be expected a little bit, just the different kind of running in the outfield -- something he’s never done,” Bell said of the hamstring issue. “Probably we’re being a little extra cautious. He’s going to be fine.”

Gray passes latest test, will start Saturday

Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray threw a live batting-practice session to Minor League hitters on Tuesday’s off-day and was pleased with his performance. Gray was deemed ready to start his first game, on Saturday vs. the Padres. He hasn’t worked in a game this spring after he was scratched Feb. 22 because of right elbow stiffness.

“I think the whole goal was walking away feeling good, and I definitely do,” Gray said.

Gray is slated to throw a side bullpen session Thursday.

“Everything yesterday was really encouraging,” Bell said. “He looked really good.”

DeSclafani continues development of breaking ball

During the Reds' 6-4 win over the Padres on Wednesday, Anthony DeSclafani started and gave up three runs (one earned) and three hits over 2 2/3 innings while striking out two. All of the runs scored in the first inning as DeSclafani gave up some sharply lined hits, but he settled in.

“Today wasn’t my best day,” DeSclafani said. “Not results-wise speaking, it was just I didn’t have really good sink on my sinker and my slider was flat. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted at the plate with those pitches. You have those days.”

DeSclafani has been working on developing his curveball throughout camp and is pleased with how it’s going.

“I got a strikeout with it in the third inning, which was nice. It’s still a work in progress but I feel like I threw a couple of good ones,” DeSclafani said. “It’s a process. I make some progress and take a step back and then you have to figure it out a little bit. It’s all part of the process. It’s developing well.”

Camp resets after break

Following the off-day, Bell expected the intensity of camp to reset to another phase.

“You do go through these little dips here and there,” Bell said. “I think energetically the last few days, and with the off-day, we almost kind of planned that a little bit for that to happen, with the idea that the next week to 10 days, to really pick it up -- especially from the practice standpoint to pushing guys a little bit to take the extra ground balls or extra fly balls.”

However, Bell is not still not ramping up the number of games for players. Therefore, there won’t be much to read into with his lineup choices -- yet.

“That last week to 10 days, we’ll be focusing more of the work in games and prioritizing the game,” he said.

Injury report

Infielder Alex Blandino, who is working his way back from reconstructive right knee surgery, will not be ready when the regular season begins. Bell noted that Blandino is “doing great” with his progress.

Right-handed pitchers Robert Stephenson (right shoulder inflammation) and Matt Bowman (right lat straight) are scheduled to face hitters in live BP on Thursday. If it goes well, both pitchers could soon get into their first Cactus League games.

Up next

In Thursday's 8:05 p.m. ET game vs. the Mariners at Goodyear Ballpark, Luis Castillo will make the start as Cincinnati sees Japanese lefty Yusei Kikuchi for a second time. Among the relievers scheduled to follow Castillo from the bullpen are Zach Duke and Michael Lorenzen. The game will air on MLB.TV.