Sunday, April 14, 2024

Matt McLain injury update: Reds infielder likely out for Opening Day while dealing with shoulder issue

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Heading into the season, the Reds were loaded with young infielders, but spring training has seen an endless rash of bad luck that has depleted their depth. The latest issue would be an injury to middle infielder Matt McLain

McLain, 24, spent time at both shortstop and second base last season and was slated to be the everyday second baseman with Elly De La Cruz at short here in 2024. McLain is dealing, however, with a lefty shoulder injury. Manager David Bell said Wednesday that McLain likely won’t be ready for Opening Day (via The Athletic) and even mentioned that surgery is a possibility (via Cincinnati Enquirer). McLain is getting a second opinion before a true path forward is decided. 

McLain last season hit .290/.357/.507 (129 OPS+) with 23 doubles, four triples, 16 homers, 50 RBI, 65 runs, 14 steals and 3.7 WAR in 89 games, finishing fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting. 

In addition to the McLain injury, the Reds have lost outfielder TJ Friedl to a fractured wrist and infielder Noelvi Marte to an 80-game PED suspension.

Late Wednesday, the Reds announced they had completed a trade with the Blue Jays to bring in former All-Star infielder Santiago Espinal, which should help with those depth issues.

Espinal, 29, has played second base, shortstop and third base at the big-league level and was a 2022 All-Star for the Blue Jays. In 93 games last season, he hit .248/.310/.335 (80 OPS+) with 14 doubles, two homers, 25 RBI, 30 runs and 0.5 WAR in 254 plate appearances. 

The Reds finished 82-80 last season, missing the playoffs by two games after losing 100 in 2022. They’ll start the 2024 season at home against the Nationals

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