Reds shortstop Zack Cozart exited today’s game and had to be helped off the field with what looked like a potentially serious knee injury.
Cozart’s left knee twisted when he stepped on first base trying to beat out an infield single and he went down immediately while grabbing his leg in obvious pain.
It’s particularly sad news because Cozart was in the midst of a career-year, hitting .259 with nine homers and a .772 OPS in 52 games to top his career OPS coming into the season by 126 points.
Cincinnati could turn to Kristopher Negron at shortstop if the injury is relatively minor, but if Cozart is out for an extended period of time 23-year-old Eugenio Suarez could get the call-up from Triple-A.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto completed a 3-6 double play with a rather unorthodox throw in the second inning of Saturday afternoon’s game against the Indians. With Brandon Moss on first base following a leadoff walk, Nick Swisher hit a grounder to Votto. Votto stepped on the bag for the first out. Then, with his momentum taking him in the opposite direction of second base, Votto flipped the ball like a pitcher with a submarine delivery to shortstop Zack Cozart, who applied the tag on Moss for the second out on the play.
Votto also finished the day 2-for-4 with a double. Along with superb defense at first base, Votto is batting .289/.386/.480 with seven home runs and 21 RBI on the season.
Billy Hamilton hit leadoff in all 136 of his starts last season and he had again served as the Reds’ leadoff man in his first 33 starts this season. But that will change in Sunday’s series finale against the Giants.
Hamilton, who’s carrying a .212 batting average and .264 on-base percentage through his first 151 plate appearances this year, has been dumped to the eighth spot in the Reds’ batting order. It’ll be his first time hitting there in his young major league career.
“I just thought it made sense to take a look at getting some of our higher on-base guys at the top of the order,” Reds manager Bryan Price told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. “Just try to get some guys on base for the middle of the order guys and take a little bit of the load off. There’s this whole thing we’re always saying with Billy, ‘You go, we go.’ It really shouldn’t be that way — when we’re going, it’s because we’re all going. Because we’re all doing what we need to be doing collectively well. I think it’d be really nice to have Billy doing some things down at the bottom, maybe helping set the table for the top of the order.”
Zack Cozart is at leadoff and Brayan Pena is batting second on Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.