The Reds’ starting left fielder could be looking at an extended absence.
According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, Ryan Ludwick was diagnosed with a dislocated right shoulder after he injured it on a head-first slide into third base in the third inning of today’s season opener against the Angels. He’s scheduled to undergo an MRI tomorrow to determine the extent of the injury.
Chris Heisey replaced Ludwick in the lineup and figures to get regular playing time in left field during his absence. Top prospect Billy Hamilton might be an option for a call-up at some point, but he could benefit by getting more playing time in center field in the minors. However, the Reds could be in the mix for an outfielder like Casper Wells, who was designated for assignment by the Mariners over the weekend.
Ludwick, 34, batted .275/.346/.531 with 26 home runs, 80 RBI and an .877 OPS last season. The Reds brought him back this winter with a two-year, $15 million contract.
The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.
While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.