Brandon Phillips, Billy Hamilton and Homer Bailey exited the last two games with injuries for the Cincinnati Reds. Bad news today as it was confirmed Phillips suffered a torn thumb ligament and will need surgery. St. Louis Cardinals‘ catcher Yadier Molina was forced out of Wednesday’s game with the same injury on the same day. The baseball Gods must have a keen sense of humor as Phillips and Molina were the first players involved in a 2010 donnybrook that to this day gets Phillips booed in St. Louis and Molina heckled in Cincinnati. Molina is out for 8-to-12 weeks, and there’s no reason to think Phillips will recover in less time.
The extent of Bailey’s injury is unknown, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer doesn’t expect it to be too serious. Via Twitter he wrote, “Bailey slight strained knee. Expect him to make his next start.” The All-Star break couldn’t come at a better time for Bailey as he will have more than a week to recover.
Hamilton, who tweaked a hamstring in Wednesday’s game, did pinch-hit in today’s Thursday afternoon affair against the Chicago Cubs. Even though there were collective breath holds in Reds country, Cincinnati manager Bryan Price would not place Hamilton in jeopardy. Tight hammy’s are easy to re-aggravate, and with all the running he does in center and on the bases, Price may hold him out of the crucial Pittsburgh Pirates series.
Losing Phillips is the killer. Much harder to swallow than Joey Votto’s Tuesday’s trip to the disabled list. Since joining the Reds in 2006, Phillips has played in 93 percent of their 1,388 games. Not only durable, he gives the team a solid bat at a traditionally weak-hitting position. However, what the Reds will miss most is the highlight-reel defense Phillips provides on a nightly basis.
Currently, their only options to fill the void are Skip Schumaker and Ramon Santiago. Schumaker is a slightly better bat, but a defensive liability at second. And, while Santiago’s glove keeps him employed at the big league level, neither are long-term answers. Teams can afford one slick-fielding anemic stick, but Zack Cozart has staked claim to the lineup’s eight-hole.
With Phillips missing at the least 50 games, the Reds need a stop-gap bat at second, and General Manager Walt Jocketty best be on the horn pronto.