Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick tore the labrum in his right shoulder on Opening Day and sat out the next four months, so you can understand why he was thrilled to contribute in a meaningful way in Saturday night’s 6-3 victory over the visiting Brewers.
Playing in just his ninth game of the 2013 regular season, Ludwick hammered a game-tying solo home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the sixth inning and later told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he “felt like Superman.”
“I’m not where I want to be, but did I expect to be in mid-season form right now? Maybe a little bit,” Ludwick continued. “I think that’s a lot of expectations to put on myself. I think I got down on myself a little early and I started out slow.”
Ludwick posted an .877 OPS with 26 homer and 80 RBI in 125 games last season.
He can play a major role in deciding the increasingly-tight National League Central race.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.