Cincinnati Reds: Nick Senzel returns to action after injury

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Nick Senzel #13 of the Cincinnati Reds and the U.S. Team hits an RBI double in the first inning against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Nick Senzel #13 of the Cincinnati Reds and the U.S. Team hits an RBI double in the first inning against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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While it’s not yet with the Cincinnati Reds, the team’s top prospect Nick Senzel will return to game action on Tuesday when he reports to Triple-A Louisville.

Nick Senzel, the Cincinnati Reds‘ top prospect, was sent down to minor league camp near the tail end of Spring Training. Unfortunately for Senzel, he injured his ankle sliding into a base during a spring game. The No. 5 overall prospect in all of Major League Baseball is healthy and will begin his 2019 season at Triple-A Louisville.

Nick Senzel is the most anticipated prospect to make his Major League debut since Jay Bruce was called up to the big leagues. Senzel was taken with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Senzel missed an opportunity for a September call-up last season due to an injury to his hand and was held out of the Arizona Fall League following a removal of bone spurs from his elbow. Senzel entered Spring Training with a real shot to make the squad out of camp.

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The Cincinnati Reds decided that the best way to get Senzel into the lineup was to switch him from the infield to the outfield. With Billy Hamilton no longer part of the team and All-Stars Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett installed as the every day third and second baseman respectively, the move made sense.

While Nick Senzel took to the position change quite well, it was deemed that Scott Schebler would be the Reds’ starting center fielder on Opening Day. Making the decision a bit more complex is the whole issue of service time in Major League Baseball.

The Cincinnati Reds, by keeping Nick Senzel off the 25-man roster for a couple weeks, gained an additional year of team control. Though the ethics of that type of decision can be questioned, from a business perspective, it makes sense.

Senzel is now healed from his sprained ankle and the team’s No. 1 prospect is returning to the field to begin the 2019 with the Louisville Bats. His first game will be this coming Tuesday when the Bats return from their road trip to face the Durham Bulls. First pitch is at 7 PM for those fans in the Louisville area wanting to get a glimpse at the team’s up-and-coming star.

How long the Reds will keep Senzel off the major league roster is anyone’s guess. With service time no longer an issue, he could be called up to the big leagues any day. Senzel will no doubt be plugged into the starting outfield in Louisville, likely alongside Phillip Ervin and Aristides Aquino.

Senzel Watch 2019 is officially underway. Some fans are leery of his lack of at-bats at the Triple-A level and others are fearful that Senzel is injury prone. Regardless, Nick Senzel will finally get his chance to prove his doubters wrong.

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If Nick Senzel shows no ill-effects from the injury and continues to impress with his work in center field, it’s only a matter of time before he makes his debut with the Cincinnati Reds. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long.