Friedl (hamstring strain) hits IL for 3rd time in '24

June 24th, 2024

CINCINNATI -- There's no charm to this third time for the Reds and .

Cincinnati placed Friedl, its center fielder and primary leadoff hitter, on the 10-day injured list on Monday with a strained right hamstring. This is his third IL stint of 2024 for three different injuries.

"Obviously, it’s tough losing TJ," manager David Bell said.

Friedl, 28, underwent an MRI on Monday morning. He was instructed to rest for two weeks before he undergoes more tests. He was initially hurt making a diving catch on June 17 at Pittsburgh. After missing two games, he returned on Friday and played each of the last three games vs. the Red Sox while not at full strength.

“I wasn’t really 100 percent myself," Friedl said. "That’s something I realized the last couple of days -- I can’t play 85 percent. Eighty-five percent is enough to run, but for me to be who I am, I need to be 100.”

To take Friedl’s place on the 26-man roster, the Reds selected the contract of outfielder/infielder Levi Jordan from Triple-A Louisville. Will Benson and Stuart Fairchild are expected to share most of the time in center field for Cincinnati.

Attrition has been a major theme this season for the Reds’ lineup. The club has not had Matt McLain (left shoulder surgery) all season, while Christian Encarnacion-Strand has been out since early May with a fractured right hand and is contemplating season-ending surgery. Noelvi Marte is near the end of an 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs and is eligible to return on Thursday.

Then, of course, there is Friedl. He missed the first six weeks of the season after he fractured his right wrist making a diving catch attempt in a Spring Training game on March 16.

Only six games into his return from that injury, Friedl suffered a broken left thumb when he was hit by a pitch vs. the Giants on May 12. He was able to heal quickly and get back in the lineup just over two weeks later.

“It’s frustrating," Friedl said. "The biggest thing I did the whole time was keep my legs in shape. My No. 1 priority was to keep my legs in shape. When I was in Arizona, building back up for my wrist, the two weeks I was down with my thumb, I was out on the field every day doing sprints, agility work, whatever it was every single day to make sure I was running around and making sure my legs were in shape.”

Bell speculated whether the first two injuries indirectly led to Friedl's hamstring issue -- despite his best efforts.

“He did come back really quick from both injuries," Bell said. "He didn’t really have a long buildup like everyone else had at Spring Training and the whole thing. It very easily could have been connected.”

Bell and the Reds considered resting Friedl during the weekend series against the Red Sox.

“We talked through everything. We definitely could have done that," Bell said. "Ultimately, I wrote his name in the lineup. A lot of that was communication with our trainers, really our entire health and performance department and TJ himself.”

“I felt like I could play through it," Friedl said.

When Friedl returned to the Reds’ lineup from the thumb injury on May 29, the slumping club seemed to find its offensive rhythm and went 11-9 in the 20 games when he played. Friedl hit four home runs with a .718 OPS in those games.

“I was feeling really good," Friedl said. "You come back from the wrist, you play six games and don’t really get to get going. Then you go down for the two weeks, coming back from the thumb, I felt really good playing every day. I felt like I was getting into a groove, feeling really good. It’s just another thing I’m going to get through.”