TJ Friedl’s injury update reveals Reds can hold serve for another acquisition

The Reds outfielder could be back sooner than expected.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl
Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

Cincinnati Reds fans were devastated to learn that TJ Friedl suffered a fractured wrist during spring training. The outfielder is arguably Cincinnati's most irreplaceable player, and will begin the 2024 season on the injured list.

But the latest update from Reds manager David Bell is a positive one. Friedl could be back in as little as six weeks. That would seem to indicate that Friedl will not be placed on the 60-day IL. Bell said that doctors have approved Friedl to begin moving his wrist, and the Reds outfielder will be reevaluated again in two weeks.

This is the best news Reds Country could've hoped for. It also should halt any potential pursuit of a roster upgrade in center field. Many Reds fans have been advocating for Cincinnati to find a suitable replacement for Friedl through free agency or a trade, but with the timeline now bumped, the team should be able to weather the storm.

TJ Friedl’s injury update reveals Reds can hold serve for another acquisition

Heading into Opening Day, it seems quite likely that Bell will deploy a platoon of Will Benson and Stuart Fairchild in center field. Benson will get the majority of starts, but when a left-hander toes the rubber, expect to see Fairchild in the middle of the Reds outfield.

Those two will be flanked by Jake Fraley (right field) and Spencer Steer (left field), though Cincinnati still has a vacancy on the Opening Day roster. It stands to reason that Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall is scouring the open market in search of a backup outfielder.

If Krall's efforts fail to yield any results, look for Cincinnati to recall Bubba Thompson or Jacob Hurtubise. Thompson put up good numbers during Cactus League play and has the type of speed that could be quite useful given the way the Reds run the bases. Thompson also plays above-average defense and can cover all three outfield spots.

Hurtubise is a bit more limited defensively, but plays the game in a similar manner to Friedl. The former Army standout is known for his high on-base skills and hustle. Hurtubise hit .294/.458/.294 this spring.

With Friedl's injury timeline moved up, it takes some pressure off the Reds front office. Cincinnati will look to stay afloat until their centerfield returns, which will hopefully be sometime in early-March.

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