It didn’t take long for the Cincinnati Reds to sustain their first injury of 2013, and it’s likely to be a serious one. It all happened in the third inning when Reds cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick slid head-first into third base trying to advance on a wild pitch. Ludwick was safe at third, but paid a hefty price as he jammed his right (non-throwing) shoulder on the play, eventually leaving the game and being diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder.
Ludwick is scheduled to have an MRI on Tuesday, and a normal timetable for this injury would have him out 12-16 weeks, with Ludwick being able to come back on the shorter side if no structural damage was sustained.
Chris Heisey replaced Ludwick in left field on Monday, and Heisey is expected to gain most of the everyday work in Ludwick’s absence. Heisey didn’t have a great 2012, hitting seven home runs and batting .265 in limited playing time.
Looking at the bright side though, Heisey is an excellent center fielder and will most likely move Shin-Soo-Choo to left, making the Reds outfield much better defensively. It’s also worth noting that this injury may speed up young phenom Billy Hamilton‘s path to the majors.
Hamilton, who is now on Reds’ Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats, was switched from shortstop to center-field last season and raised his batting average to .310. while adding a minor league-record 155 stolen bases.
Whoever the Reds decide to play in Ludwick’s place, it’s more than likely that Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips or Jay Bruce will be moved to Ludwick’s cleanup spot because his replacements are not capable of adequately protecting Joey Votto.
Vinny Carozza is a MLB/Cincinnati Reds writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @VinnyCarozza.