TJ Friedl's injury may force this Reds prospect onto the Opening Day roster

TJ Friedl exited Saturday's spring game with a sprained wrist.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl
Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages

The most irreplaceable player on the Cincinnati Reds roster went down on Saturday night. During a Cactus League game against the Seattle Mariners, TJ Friedl made a diving attempt at a fly ball and landed awkwardly.

Friedl needed to be helped off the field by the Reds training staff and was later diagnosed with a sprained right wrist. According to, Friedl will receive a precautionary MRI to be sure that there's no extensive damage.

If there is one position on Cincinnati's roster that is incredibly thin, it's center field. While X-rays were negative, one has to assume that Friedl's status for Opening Day is in doubt. If Friedl begins the 2024 season on the injured list, look for Jacob Hurtubise to make his major league debut.

TJ Friedl's injury may force Reds prospect Jacob Hurtubise onto the Opening Day roster

The Reds have other options. Will Benson has played center field in the past and could start in place of Friedl. Stuart Fairchild, who's been tremendous throughout spring training, could also man the position in Friedl's absence. But Hurtubise would be the most logical replacement if Friedl was sidelined to start the season.

Hurtubise and Friedl have a similar style of play. Neither is too proud to lay down a bunt, speed is an essential part of their arsenal, and both Hurtubise and Friedl play above-average defense in center field. While he wouldn't necessarily start, having Hurtubise on the roster gives Reds manager David Bell a versatile bench piece heading into the 2024 season.

Hurtubise was added to the Reds 40-man roster this past offseason after absolutely setting the minor leagues on fire with his stellar play in 2023. Hurtubise hit .330/.479/.482 while splitting time in both Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville.

Nick Martini is also an option to replace TJ Friedl on the Reds Opening Day roster

Bubba Thompson is another option, but being a right-handed hitter probably pushes him out of the conversation. If the Reds prefer to run a combination of Benson and Fairchild out in center field, then Nick Martini may be the benefactor and find his way onto the Opening Day roster.

Martini hasn't connected often this spring, but when he has, the veteran has launched balls into orbit. Martini has just four hits during Cactus League play this spring, but three of the four have left the yard.

Hurtubise is a dark horse to snag that final roster spot, and has already been reassigned to minor league camp. But that doesn't preclude his name from being added to the Reds Opening Day roster. While the Reds roster isn't overflowing with options to replace Friedl, Cincinnati has enough young talent to take his place in center field until the 28-year-old is fully healthy.

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