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Top prospect Senzel to report to Triple-A

Votto sits again with back tightness; Iglesias on strikeout run
@oapostrophesd
April 21, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- Nick Senzel, the No. 5 prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, will begin his 2019 regular season Tuesday at Triple-A Louisville. Senzel has been sidelined since sustaining a sprained right ankle while sliding into second base in a Minor League game in Spring Training on March 25.

SAN DIEGO -- Nick Senzel, the No. 5 prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, will begin his 2019 regular season Tuesday at Triple-A Louisville.

Senzel has been sidelined since sustaining a sprained right ankle while sliding into second base in a Minor League game in Spring Training on March 25. He was in a walking boot for a while, but saw game action in the past week in extended spring camp games in Arizona. After Senzel passed tests by playing in back-to-back games, and going seven innings in center field, the Reds gave him the green light to report to Louisville.

At Louisville, Senzel will play full games and continue to play consecutive days, Reds general manager Nick Krall said on Sunday.

“He’s a kid who’s worked hard,” Krall said. “He’s really done a good job.”

The 23-year-old Senzel began a position change from the infield to center field in Spring Training. Neither the move, nor the hype that comes with being the Reds’ top prospect, affected Senzel at the plate. He slashed .308/.300/.462 in 12 Cactus League games but was sent to Minor League camp days before his injury.

Although the Reds entered Sunday last in the Majors with a .193 team batting average, Senzel’s bat isn’t what the front office is watching closely at the moment. The Triple-A assignment gives Senzel an opportunity to continue his defensive transition.

“Going to a new position, the learning curve is extremely high,” Krall said. “You’ve got to let him play games, get some reps in center field and see how it goes from there.”

Votto out of lineup again

Reds manager David Bell initially said Saturday that Joey Votto’s absence from the lineup because of back tightness was expected to be for one game. Instead, Votto was out a second straight day on Sunday vs. the Padres.

Still, Bell said the issue hasn’t turned out to be more serious than first thought. Bell said Votto was available to come off the bench, but more rest seemed prudent for the 35-year-old first baseman.

“With the off-day tomorrow, we’re able to give him three days [of rest], just to make sure,” Bell said. “It just made too much sense to not push him today.”

After Sunday's game, Votto said his back is OK. But the left-handed-hitting Votto did not pinch-hit against right-handed closer Kirby Yates with the Reds down by one run in the ninth inning.

K’s aplenty

Right-hander Raisel Iglesias has struck out each of the nine batters he's faced in the first three games against the Padres. That’s the longest strikeout streak by a Reds pitcher since at least 1959, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.

Colorado’s German Marquez is the last pitcher to strike out nine straight in multiple games, doing so in consecutive starts on Sept. 21 and Sept. 26 last season. White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon is the last to strike out 10 straight, in starts on Sept. 25 and Sept. 30 in 2016. The last right-hander with 10 straight strikeouts is the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne in relief from May 17-21, 2003.

Wood progressing

Left-hander Alex Wood, who is on the injured list with lower back tightness, threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Saturday with no problems.

“He looked really good. He looked healthy, for sure,” Bell said.

There is no timetable for Wood’s return.

Umpires host UMPS CARE auction

Major League Baseball's umpires have offered up more than 400 items for charity, in the 11th annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction, which runs through April 29.

The items up for bid include signed balls, bats, jerseys and a number of unique MLB experiences. You can check out the full list here.

Shaun O'Neill is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @oapostrophesd.