By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — It is amazing and astounding the different ways that baseball players injure themselves on the playing field.
Jesse Winker is a prime example and it is the reason he was not in Tuesday’s lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
His right shoulder has been an off-and-on problem-child for a couple of years now and Monday night he aggravated it again.
And it could be serious because Winker declined to elaborate on the latest pain when asked about it Tuesday afternoon.
“It has bothered me for a couple of years now, on and off,” he said. “I’m not going to address the injury or how long it might be or what might happen. I’m not comfortable talking about it.
The re-injury occurred Monday night when the Reds came from 1-0 down to the Cardinals to win, 2-1, on Dilson Herrera’s pinch-hit walk-off single.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Eugenio Suarez homered to tie it, 1-1. Winker then singled to right field. The next batter, Tucker Barnhart, blistered a line drive between first and second. Winker had to put on the brakes to avoid getting hit and he slipped to the ground, banging his right shoulder. He limped into second and was on third base and scored the winning run on Herrera’s single.
It could be a costly run because it is apparent Winker is concerned about the injury.
“This has happened multiple times throughout the year,” he said. “Diving for balls, ducking out the way of line drives, swinging the bat, sliding and pretty much any baseball move.”
When asked if there is any official name for his injury, Winker shook his head and said, “I’m just going to wait. I don’t feel comfortable talking about it right now.”
Manager Jim Riggleman is concerned, too.
“Winker is sore, real sore,” he said. “When he went down, it didn’t look like much but that area has aggravated him before. Didn’t look like much, but he is very sore. I hope it is just a day or two, but I could see by his reaction after the game that he was very sore. He has felt it for months and it was going away and then he felt it again last night.”
DILSON HERRERA WAS the hero Monday night with his two-out bases-loaded walk-off single to beat the Cardinals, 2-1. But none would have been possible without Eugenio Suarez’s home run when the Reds trailed in the ninth inning, 1-0, and there two outs and nobody on.
“It was amazing,” he said. “I was just trying to hit a double, not be the last out of the game. I just try to win all my at bats. My hands were real quick on that pitch (fastball from closer Bud Norris) and I hit it very hard. That tied the game, that’s the important thing. And we made an amazing comeback.
“I mean, that kid (Daniel Poncedeleon) pitched a no-hitter for seven innings and we won that game? That’s amazing. I like to compete, I like to be in exciting moment like that — not to be a hero but just to say to myself, ‘OK, you gotta win this game on this at bat,’ and that’s what I try to do every at bat.”
Suarez continues an outstanding breakout season, batting .302 with 17 home runs and 72 RBI, three behind Chicago’s Javier Baez. No Reds player has led the league in RBI since Dave Parker drove in 125 in 1985.
THE CRUELTIES AND VAGARIES of baseball:
Just a couple of days after pitching 3 1/3 innings of relief, tying his career high, Reds relief pitcher Jackson Stephens was placed on the disabled list with a torn meniscus in his right knee.
“I have no idea how I did it, I never felt anything,” he said. But manager Jim Riggleman believes he did it on the last batter he faced. Stephens jumped in the air trying to snag a ground ball and landed hard on the leg.
“If there is any good part to injure in the knee, it is the meniscus,” said Riggleman. “That’s the least damaging.”
Surgery is not on the horizon and while it was sore Sunday Stephens said it felt better Monday.
And immediately after he held the Reds hitless for seven innings in his major league debut, St. Louis pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon was optioned back to Class AAA Louisville. The move was made so the Cardinals could call up left handed pitcher Austin Gomber to start Tuesday night’s game. Poncedeleon must stay in Memphis for at least 10 days before the Cardinals can recall him for another start.
QUOTE Of THE DAY
With the non-waiver trade deadline just seven days away, manager Jim Riggleman said this about the return to the mound Tuesday night of Homer Bailey: “As we approach the trade deadline, this happens to a lot of clubs — somebody comes back from injury and gives your team a boost. It is kind of like making a trade or it is even better than making a trade.”