Reds injury update: Christian Encarnacion-Strand's second opinion, Brandon Williamson

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Cincinnati Reds infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Cincinnati Reds infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds are riding a five-game winning streak and hoping to make six tonight when the Chicago Cubs return to Great American Ball Park of Game 2 of a four-game set. Elly De La Cruz starred in Thursday night's contest against the Cubbies with a three-run homer in the bottom of the third inning that helped set the tone for the Reds' 8-4 win.

Manager David Bell offered a few Reds injury updates ahead of Cincinnati's game on Thursday night, including a possible timeline for the return of both Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Brandon Williamson.

Reds injury update: Christian Encarnacion-Strand seeking second opinion

If it were up to the Reds, Encarnacion-Strand would already be on a rehab assignment and working his way back to the team. According to Bell, he's been cleared to progress forward in his recovery from a right ulnar styloid fracture.

But the Reds first baseman will be seeking a second opinion before he readies to make his return to the baseball diamond. This isn't out of the ordinary — several players will seek an alternate opinion before moving forward with surgery or resuming baseball activities.

Reds injury update: Brandon Williamson not yet ready to return from IL

When the Reds made the decision to option Graham Ashcraft to Triple-A Louisville, many fans assumed that Brandon Williamson would be elevated back to the major league roster. After all, he owns a 0.66 ERA in four rehab starts with the Louisville Bats, and would seem like a perfect choice to fill the void left by Ashcraft.

But with the Reds schedule, Bell plans to operate with a four-man rotation for the time being. Cincinnati is off on Monday and Thursday next week, and shouldn't require a fifth starter until the team's upcoming road trip agains the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bell also revealed that Williamson isn't yet ready to return from the IL. On Friday, the Reds returned Williamson from his rehab assignment, which is typically a sign that a player has endured a setback. Reds fans will remember the same thing happened earlier this season with Ian Gibaut.

With latest news, it remains to be seen how Cincinnati will fill out the starting rotation later this month.

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