Matt Mclain photo by Cincinnati Reds

by Chris Ball

Loveland, Ohio – Under David Bell the Reds have had plenty of slow starts. Last year they were 12-16 at the end of April and many fans were settling in for what many expected to be one of the worst seasons in decades. Thankfully we were treated to a surprise campaign that saw numerous young Reds be promoted and play like seasoned veterans. Though the second half of the season was a letdown, and the Reds ultimately missed the playoffs after a valiant effort, this offseason was filled with an optimism that fans of this team haven’t felt in quite a few years. With so much young talent, that optimism was completely warranted.

Reds Manager David Bell (photo by Cincinnati Reds)

That is exactly why the recent injury news for the Reds has been so devastating. Before the first pitch has even been thrown the team has lost infielder Matt McLain for opening day due to a shoulder injury, outfielder TJ Friedl for 3-4 weeks because of a fractured wrist, and reliever Ian Gibaut for what could be a significant period of time. Pitchers Brandon Williamson and Nick Lodolo are also still battling their own nagging ailments and may miss time.

After Joe Burrow’s calf, Cincinnati fans are understandably concerned with preseason injuries that untimely derail the regular season. But the bright side is that the major league season is 162 very long games. There is plenty of time for McLain and company to get healthy and have a positive impact for this season and the Reds are well provisioned to hold their own in spite of the injury bug.

The majority of their starters are healthy, Alexis Diaz will be ready to close out games, and the re-signing of Jonathan India gives the team additional flexibility. Christian Encarnacion-Strand is 12-for-41 (.293) with eight extra-base hits and 12 RBI through 13 games. Luke Maile is hitting the cover off of the ball. There are positive aspects of the Reds’ spring training that have to give fans hope that the roster, as it is currently constructed can hold the line until its young stars make their way back into the lineup.

Although the injury report may look bleak now, it’s a long season and if there is anything last year taught Reds fans it is to never underestimate what this team can accomplish.

Opening Day for the Reds is this Thursday vs the Washington Nationals at 4:10 PM at the Great American Ballpark. HERE is the Reds home schedule.

The 2024 Findlay Market Opening Day Parade will start at noon on Thursday, March 28th. Last year it is estimated that 130,000 were in attandance for the parade, so plan accordingly.

Christopher Ball is a longtime Loveland resident and an attorney. He graduated from Loveland High School in 2003 and was a member of the football team before going on to become a coach’s assistant at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He has been following and rooting for the Reds and Bengals since the early 1990s and has been through the many ups and downs that fandom has wrought over the years.

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