The Reds are slowly returning to full strength.
I feel for manager David Bell. He's spent the first three weeks of the 2022 season managing with not one hand tied behind his back, but two. Injuries have ravaged the Cincinnati Reds' roster to begin the season, but the past several days have offered a glimmer of hope.
Over the last week, outfielders Tyler Naquin and Nick Senzel along with reliever Lucas Sims have returned from the IL. Barring any setbacks, all signs point to reigning Rookie of the Year, Jonathan India, joining the active roster for tonight's contest.
Granted there are still important pieces missing from Bell's lineup card. Third baseman Mike Moustakas, catcher Tyler Stephenson, shortstop Jose Barrero, and pitching ace Luis Castillo remain shelved. However, the team San Diego sees this week at Great American Ball Park will be very different from the one they witnessed at Petco Park.
There are other signs of life as well. Outfielder Tommy Pham is slashing .318/.375/.682 with a couple of homers over the last week, and catcher Aramis Garcia has slashed .364/.417/.455 in his last four starts.
Prediction: Reds vs. Padres
This will not be the same Cincinnati Reds squad the San Diego Padres saw in Southern California last week. The Cincinnati lineup deployed this week will be much more dangerous.
Look for the Reds to not only best the three runs they scored in San Diego but to take two of three from the Friars as the Redlegs capture their first series victory of the year before heading to the Colorado to face the Rockies this weekend.