The pomp and circumstance of Opening Day was barely an hour old when the Cincinnati Reds suffered their first big loss of the season.
No, the Reds didn’t play a super fast game against the Los Angeles Angels; in fact, the game went to several extra innings. Instead, the loss came in the third inning when cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick dislocated his right shoulder. He suffered the injury diving safely into third base while trying to advance on a wild throw.
The severity of the damage isn’t yet known. He will probably have an MRI on Tuesday. It is likely Ludwick will have to miss a good chunk of time. That will throw the lineup off a bit, as Ludwick was a big power source. Last season, he hit 26 home runs and drove in 80 runs in just 422 at bats.
The Reds will probably have to rely heavily on 28-year old Chris Heisey to pick up the slack. He is not nearly the power threat that Ludwick was. Heisey had just seven home runs last season, after a career-high of 18 in 2011.
Some fans might hope that speedy prospect Billy Hamilton gets a call up, but that would probably be a bad move by the Reds. Hamilton is still quite raw and proved as much by hitting just .192 in Reds camp this spring. It isn’t a good idea to rush Hamilton, as he only made it to Double-A last season and that was for only half the year.
Don’t mortgage the future for the potential of a couple of extra wins this season. The Reds need to stay the course and not hit the panic button.