The Curious Case of Cincinnati Reds’ Mismanaged Injuries
A recurring theme throughout the tenure of Cincinnati Reds GM Walt Jocketty has been the team’s seemingly stubborn nature when it comes to injuries. Oftentimes, the team has played short-handed due to their unwillingness to place players on the DL. But on the flip side, the Reds have also put players on the DL with “minor injuries” who end up missing extended periods of time.
Does anyone remember Nick Masset? The reliever who the Reds received from the Chicago White Sox in the Ken Griffey, Jr. trade was an integral part of the Reds’ bullpen, and seemed to be the closer of the future. From 2009 through 2011, Masset was a dominant reliever for the Reds before injuring his throwing shoulder in late 2011.
At the time, manager Dusty Baker gave the typical Reds response to injuries by saying, “The MRI showed it’s not the rotator cuff, not the labrum, it’s just inflammation. He’ll rest a week. Hopefully, he’ll miss a minimal amount of time”.
That week of rest turned into three years for Masset (who now is working on a comeback with the Colorado Rockies). The same is happening with ace Mat Latos. An injury and surgery in the offseason was downplayed by the Reds, who said to expect him to miss the first two series of the season before returning.
Those two series have turned into two months. And with reports surfacing that Latos could return to the Reds in mid-June, the injury is proving to be more severe than the Reds were willing to admit once again.
What is the purpose in handling injuries this way? There’s seems to be no gain for the Reds; if anything, it is a disservice to the team because they are forced to play shorthanded all too often. How many times have you seen a Reds player out of the starting lineup for multiple days without being placed on the DL? Numerous times. So does the problem lie with Jocketty or with Dr. Timothy Kremchek and Paul Lessard‘s training staff? We may never know, but it is a problem that needs to be rectified.
But hey, I’ll believe those reports of Latos returning to the mound when I see it — otherwise, the next three weeks of wait could end up becoming another three years.