Cincinnati Reds’ Marlon Byrd Fractures Right Wrist

After Tuesday’s gut-punching, walk-off loss to the Phillies, things got even worse for the Cincinnati Reds as it was learned that Marlon Byrd fractured his right wrist after being hit by a pitch from Sean O’Sullivan in the sixth inning.

The left fielder went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored in the game before he was forced to an early exit.

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Byrd’s loss will undoubtedly hurt the Reds’ offense, as he’s provided good pop in the middle of the lineup, slugging 10 home runs on the season. His .212 batting average and .286 on-base percentage aren’t anything to write home about, but he’d been coming around at the plate over the last month after a poor April.

There has yet to be any official word on how long Byrd will be out, but there’s little doubt he’ll be headed to the disabled list. Wrist injuries are particularly tricky, as they can sap a hitter’s power, meaning even if he’s able to return relatively soon, there’s no telling if his power will be the same.

What makes the loss sting even more is the lack of quality outfield depth the Reds have. I’d imagine Skip Schumaker will get the bulk of the work in left field in Byrd’s absence. He’s hitting just .233/.281/.350 with seven doubles and four runs batted in in 64 plate appearances this season. Schumaker made 61 starts in 2014 due to a plethora of injuries and batted .235/.287/.350 overall.

The options don’t get any better after that. Brennan Boesch and Kristopher Negron can both play left field, but have a combined 13 hits in 101 at-bats. Negron does play the best defense of the three, so that could give him an edge if all three continue to struggle on offense.

As for who will replace Byrd on the active roster, the Reds have a number of options. If they want to call up another outfielder, Yorman Rodriguez and Kyle Waldrop are both on the 40-man roster.

Rodriguez is currently in Triple-A Louisville and is hitting .244/.277/.420 with 1o doubles, three triples, five homers and 19 runs batted in. Despite lackluster numbers overall, he’s been better of late, going 13-for-39 (.333) over his last 10 games.

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Waldrop was the Reds’ Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2014, but has yet to play above the Double-A level. He’s hitting .283/.313/.462 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 29 RBIs this season, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t great at 51-to-7.

Chris Dominguez also plays left field and is on the 40-man roster, but he’s batting .211/.257/.380 in Triple-A, so I’d be surprised if he got the call.

Outside of the 40-man roster, the Reds could also give Steve Selsky (.299/.353/.425 in Triple-A) a look.

Many fans have called and will call for top hitting prospect Jesse Winker to get a promotion, but that seems unlikely since he’s hitting just .229/.341/.312 in Double-A Pensacola.

Given that the Reds already have three players on their bench who can play left field, they could opt to bring up someone who plays elsewhere. Shortstop Eugenio Suarez is hitting .260/.353/.452 with eight doubles, a triple, and eight home runs in Triple-A Louisville, but the Reds have said they want to get him regular at-bats so he’ll probably stay put.

Infielders Irving Falu and Ivan De Jesus Jr. are both hitting over .300 in Triple-A, but neither are on the 40-man roster.

If you made me guess, I’d say De Jesus will be promoted and Devin Mesoraco heads to the 60-day DL to make room for him (if Byrd’s wrist fracture is serious, he could also land the 60-day DL to make room for someone, but let’s hope that’s not the case). Bryan Price and the Reds were impressed by the way De Jesus performed in spring training and he was one of the final cuts from the roster. He’s cooled off after a red-hot start in Louisville, but is still hitting .303/.378/.384 overall, with nine doubles, three triples, no homers and 16 RBIs.

UPDATE: Per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Reds have called up De Jesus. No corresponding move has been announced.

UPDATE #2: The Reds announced that Byrd is heading to the 15-day DL and Donald Lutz, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery, has been released. Lutz batted .211/.239/.284 with a home run and nine RBIs in his time in Cincinnati, and .270/.336/.470 with 75 home runs and 306 RBIs in the minor leagues. This season with Triple-A Louisville, he batted .190/.292/.262 with three doubles and three RBIs before his injury.

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