The long-awaited, highly anticipated major league debut of top prospect Nick Senzel will have to wait until 2019.
The Reds No. 1 pick and the second overall selection in the 2016 draft is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger, an injury he suffered while making a throw in the first inning of Triple-A Louisville’s game against Norfolk on Friday.
Senzel hit .310 with 12 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 25 runs batted in and eight stolen bases in 44 games with the Bats this season. He missed almost a month while dealing with vertigo, but he came back to hit .387 with a .434 on-base percentage in the first 19 June games.
Even though Senzel was blocked with the Reds at his primary positions of second and third base, interim Cincinnati Manager Jim Riggleman suspects he would’ve likely made his major league debut sometime before rosters are expanded in September.
“I think so,” Riggleman said before Saturday’s game against the Chicago Cubs. “We never said anything specific. I never talked to (general manager Nick Krall) about it or about when he’d be here, but I got the sense that it might be before September and, in all likelihood, during September.”
Senzel, who was ranked as baseball’s sixth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, posted this message on his Twitter account shortly before 1 p.m. on Saturday:
“I would like to start by thanking my family, friends, teammates and fans for the support over the last 24 hours. It had been a challenging season from the start, but it has made me grow. The news this morning was very unfortunate but I was prepared mentally on how to handle it, whether good or bad. I had a goal this season and it was to make it to the big leagues and help the Cincinnati Reds win ballgames. Although I did not fulfill this goal, it will not stop my drive to fulfill my dream. The support that has been shown is what makes me blessed and thankful for everything in my life inside and outside of baseball. It’s what makes me keep going … and make no mistake I will be back, stronger than ever. I love u all Reds Nation.”
Green light: Shortstop Jose Peraza didn't start Saturday's game, one day after tying his single-game career high with three stolen bases while going 1-for-4 with a walk and scoring two runs in Cincinnati's 6-3 win over the Cubs on Friday.
Peraza, who also reached on a fielder’s-choice grounder, made the most of his 16thstart in the leadoff slot. He extended to 22 his streak of consecutive games in which he reached base at least once. When he gets on, he doesn’t have to wait for a sign from Riggleman to go.
“He can certainly go whenever he feels he can get a read on the pitcher,” Riggleman said. “With guys who can run, I don’t like to give them the ‘go’ sign, because it might make them feel like they have to go on this pitch. I want to allow him to get a read on the pitcher.”
Peraza, who ranks second on the Reds in stolen bases with 13, also stole three against the Cubs on Oct. 1, 2016. He’s been caught twice. Billy Hamilton leads the team with 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
Schebler back: Outfielder Scott Schebler was in the Reds Great American Ball Park clubhouse on Saturday, one day before he's eligible to be activated from the bereavement list.
“He’ll be active (Sunday),” Riggleman said. “We’ll make a spot on the roster for him.”
Outfielder Phillip Ervin will most likely be optioned to Louisville to make room on the 25-man roster for Schebler. Ervin was recalled on Thursday to fill the slot opened by Schebler’s absence. He was a defensive replacement in right field for Jesse Winker on Thursday and Friday.
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