3 Reds, not named Tejay Antone, who will likely start the 2023 season on the IL

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages
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Spring training is less than a week away, and the injury bug has already crept up and bitten the Cincinnati Reds once again. While last year's Reds team was gutted prior to the season and had no real chance at winning the division, a rash of injuries prevented them from even being competitive.

Unfortunately, it would appear as though the 2023 season will get off to a similar rocky start. Tejay Antone recently announced that he would not be part of the Reds Opening Day roster after suffering a flexor tendon strain.

But Antone will not be the only Reds player who begins the 2023 on the injured list, and the team hasn't even taken the field for their first workout yet. Which 3 Cincinnati Reds players, other than Tejay Antone, will begin the season on the IL?

1. Reds RHP Vladimir Gutierrez will begin the season on the IL.

This has been known for sometime, but it's still a blow to the Cincinnati Reds roster heading into the 2023 season. Vladimir Gutierrez, who was part of the Reds rotation to begin the 2022 season, will begin the upcoming season on the IL.

Gutierrez will not only begin the season on the 60-day IL, but finish on it as well. Gutierrez underwent Tommy John surgery last July, and after watching how the Reds handled Tejay Antone last season, it's a good bet that Gutierrez will miss the entirety of the 2023 season.

Gutierrez moved from the rotation to the bullpen last season after seeing his production dip quite a bit. After undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery, it's quite likely that Gutierrez's status will be that of a reliever going forward.

Vladimir Gutierrez has been part of the Cincinnati Reds organization for what feels like forever. After playing for the Cuba national team in 2014, the Reds signed him as a free agent in 2015 at 19 years old. There's a chance that Gutierrez could return in 2023, but it seems unlikely.

2. Reds 1B Joey Votto will begin the season on the IL.

Call me skeptical, but it would appear unlikely that Joey Votto will run his streak of Opening Day appearances to 16 straight. The six-time All-Star was shelved late last season following shoulder surgery and, while under the knife, it was revealed that Votto had an issue with his biceps as well.

The Reds, in all honesty, even seem to be getting ahead of this situation with the additions they've made this offseason. Adding Curt Casali and Luke Maile will allow Tyler Stephenson to see action at first base.

The Reds also inked Wil Myers to a one-year deal. While it's more likely that Myers will be the team's everyday right fielder, the former San Diego Padre also has experience at first base. Cincinnati also signed Jason Vosler to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

All these moves would seem to indicate that, at best, Votto will be limited if he returns in time to be part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. Both Reds GM Nick Krall and manager David Bell expect Votto to be delayed once he arrives at Goodyear later this month.

As Reds fans have seen in recent years, including Luis Castillo in 2022, a delayed start to spring training oftentimes means an absence from the Opening Day lineup. It would be foolish to count out Joey Votto completely, but the 2010 NL MVP has an uphill battle if he hopes not begin the 2023 season on the IL.

3. Reds CF Nick Senzel will begin the season on the IL.

This seems a bit unfair, but it is what it is at this point in time. Nick Senzel has proven one thing since arriving in the major leagues back in 2019 - he can't stay healthy. Even last season, when Senzel set a career-high in games played, his season still ended on the IL.

The 2022 season was the third time in four years that Senzel finished the year on the IL. In 2019 it was a shoulder injury, in 2021 it was knee, and last year Senzel's season ended with a broken toe. All of this on top of missing more than half the abbreviated 2020 season with an illness.

At this point, you just can't count on Nick Senzel to be part of the Reds everyday lineup. It would appear that Cincinnati's front office feels the same. With Wil Myers likely to line up in right field, Senzel will have a fight on his hands this spring if he's actually able to take the field.

Stuart Fairchild, Michael Siani, and TJ Friedl will all be pushing for playing time and all three have the ability to play center field. While Senzel could find time back at third base with the absence of Mike Moustakas and Kyle Farmer, he'll find competition there too in the form of Spencer Steer, Jason Vosler, and Alejo Lopez.

The 2023 season would seem to represent the last chance for Nick Senzel to make an impression on the Cincinnati Reds organization. There are more than enough young players who are going to be battling for playing time, and if Senzel isn't on the field, he'll be passed over rather quickly. Don't be shocked if that lingering toe injury shelves Senzel to begin the 2023 season.

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