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Senzel ready to make impact in center in '20

@m_sheldon
March 2, 2020

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With roughly three weeks remaining in Spring Training, Nick Senzel will make his 2020 debut for the Reds on Thursday against the Brewers. Senzel, who has been rehabilitating from September surgery on his right shoulder, is scheduled to be in the lineup as the designated hitter. The

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With roughly three weeks remaining in Spring Training, Nick Senzel will make his 2020 debut for the Reds on Thursday against the Brewers. Senzel, who has been rehabilitating from September surgery on his right shoulder, is scheduled to be in the lineup as the designated hitter.

The big question, however, is whether Senzel will have enough time to be ready as the Opening Day center fielder. The 24-year-old second-year big leaguer was optimistic.

“It’s just going to come down to if my progression is going as planned and I am throwing 4-5 times a week and then we sit down with the medical staff and David for what the best decision is moving forward,” Senzel said on Monday. “But I have a good feeling that I should be ready to go for Opening Day.”

On Sept. 24, Senzel had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He’s been limited to a throwing program, but threw on back-to-back days for the first time on Sunday and Monday.

As a former infielder with just his rookie season as experience in center field, this remains an important camp for Senzel to keep learning the position. He’s been able to participate with the other outfielders during workouts and drills.

“Making some throws to bases is on the checklist. But other than that, I’m getting ready to play it but just not throwing yet,” Senzel said.

As for hitting, Senzel has been taking batting practice for several weeks without issues.

“Hitting has no restrictions,” he said. “Everything is good. I’m doing early work and extra work, live BP, it doesn’t matter.”

Senzel batted .256/.315/.427 with 12 homers and 42 RBIs in 104 games last season for Cincinnati. He missed time with numerous nagging injuries after his May 3 debut, but none worse than his shoulder.

Though listed at 205 pounds from last season, Senzel came to camp bulkier, but with more muscle, after adding about 10 pounds in the offseason.

“Maybe I’m coming into some man strength,” Senzel joked. “It just kind of happened that way. When you’re here in Arizona and coming to the facility every day -- Monday through Friday -- there’s a lot of time spent in the weight room. That’s all I’ve done this offseason. I had no breaks, no nothing. I came here from the get-go.”

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.