Christian Encarnacion-Strand getting hit by pitch might've been blessing in disguise for Reds

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds had a pair of their starters sitting during Sunday's series finale against the Texas Rangers. Tyler Stephenson and Christian Encarnacion-Strand were sidelined after both players were hit by a pitch on Saturday courtesy of former Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen.

Stephenson was struck on the hand during the seventh inning and was actually replaced by catcher Luke Maile. Encarnacion-Strand was hit-by-pitch in the first inning, and never came out of the game. However, neither player was available on Sunday.

Stephenson and Encarnacion-Strand had X-rays taken on Saturday and both came back negative. However, Enacarnacion-Strand's images showed a "old fracture" in the tip of one of the bones. That could be something worth monitoring, and while it may result in CES taking a few games off, it's better to have that taken care of sooner rather than later.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand's injury might've been blessing in disguise for Reds

That said, it's not as if the Reds can really afford to be without Encarnacion-Strand at the moment. Cincinnati is already down Noelvi Marte, TJ Friedl, and Matt McLain. While Encarnacion-Strand has gotten off to a slow start this season, the Reds can ill-afford to lose another infielder to injury.

Encarnacion-Strand was replaced by Spencer Steer at first base on Sunday. Steer, who's been scuffling himself of late, has been the Reds' primary left fielder this season. If Encarnacion-Strand was to miss more time without going on the injured list, look for Steer, Nick Martini, or Jonathan India to get reps at first base.

If Encarnacion-Strand's injury causes him to be placed on the IL, the Reds could select the contract of Mike Ford from Triple-A Louisville. The slugger had a tremendous spring and rejoined the Reds on a minor-league deal shortly before the 2024 season began.

It seems as though the issue with Encarnacion-Strand centers around pain tolerance more than anything else. The Reds' first baseman has shown his toughness throughout his brief major league tenure, so it would be rather surprising to see CES hit the IL unless further imaging reveals a bigger problem.

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