The Cincinnati Reds have been overcoming injuries for the entire first month of the 2014 season. However, their latest might be the most devastating to date:
Reds disable LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder tendinitis), recalled from Louisville RHP Curtis Partch (#46).
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 1, 2014
After exiting following just four innings in yesterday’s game, many affiliated with the Reds reassured those listening that Tony Cingrani did not leave for health related reasons. Yet, as you can see in the above tweet from the team, that truth is indeed quite the opposite.
With Cingrani on the disabled list, the Reds now are forced to tread water while two of their top starters (Cingrani and Mat Latos) try to regain a clean bill of health. While Alfredo Simon has filled in perfectly for Latos, who now will pick up Cingrani’s spot in the rotation?
The most logical answer would be lefty Jeff Francis of the Reds-affiliated Louisville Bats. Currently, Francis has a 2.72 ERA in 36.1 innings over six games. The veteran has struck out 34 and walked just seven. Chien-Ming Wang continues to struggle in AAA with a 4.67 ERA over just 27 innings.
Not only are the Reds’ now two men short in their rotation, but the Cingrani injury also comes at a time when the team’s highest paid pitcher (Homer Bailey) continues to struggle mightily. While the rotation has kept the Reds’ hovering around the .500 mark on the season, it looks as though the injury bug might finally be catching up to them.
Obviously for the Reds, the best case scenario would see Francis making just one spot start for Cingrani before Latos is ready to come off of the disabled list. Such a boost could be the one situation that could help the Reds trek through such a uncertain time in the season.
However, no one expected Simon to be as dominant as he has been this early in the season. Maybe the Reds will be pleasantly surprised with Cingrani’s rotation replacement. Regardless, one thing is certain — the Reds absolutely need Bailey to be the pitcher of 2012 and 2013 in order to survive this latest injury to the team.