Injuries are part of the game, but the Cincinnati Reds middle infield will be tested early. Jose Barrero's hand injury, which will force the rookie to miss the first several weeks of the 2022 season, meant that Donovan Solano would be Kyle Farmer's backup at shortstop on Opening Day.
Unfortunately, Solano suffered a hamstring injury, and the veteran infielder will begin the season on the 10-day Injured List. With both Barrero and Solano starting the 2022 season on the IL, it appears that Brandon Drury will sneak onto the Reds Opening Day roster as the team's backup utility infielder.
Drury is not a shortstop by trade, in fact, the 29-year-old hasn't played the position in the major leagues since 2020 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Even then, it was only for two games. Drury saw three starts at shortstop in 2019 and played the position for just seven innings in 2018. For his career, Drury has 57 innings played in the field as a shortstop in the majors.
Brandon Drury appears to be the Reds backup SS heading into 2022.
I'm not going to pick apart Brandon Drury's career. He's a fine utility player who posted a .783 OPS in a limited role for the New York Mets in 2021. But it highlights the Cincinnati Reds lack of depth up the middle. Besides Kyle Farmer and Jose Barrero, the only other player on the Reds 40-man roster who's capable of playing shortstop might be Alejo Lopez.
Cincinnati's front office appears to see the need for increased depth at the position, as the team spent it's first-round draft pick last season on UCLA shortstop Matt McLain. The 22-year-old will likely begin his 2022 campaign at Double-A Chattanooga.
Jose Torres was another selection in last year's draft. Taken in the third-round out of NC State, Torres has seen some time in the Cactus League this spring, but is still probably two-plus years away from making his MLB debut.
The Redlegs also have Ivan Johnson in their farm system. A fourth-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2019, Johnson has steadily climbed his way up through the farm system and may start the 2022 season at Double-A Chattanooga. Johnson also looks comfortable at second base.
For the Reds sake, they hope that Donovan Solano is only sidelined for the minimum of 10 days, but hamstring injuries are oftentimes very finicky. Barrero will miss at least the first month of the season, but he's expected to be a big-time contributor for Cincinnati this season and beyond. Hopefully, Brandon Drury can help the Reds weather the storm during the first week of the season.