Shin-Soo Choo aiming to play Monday night

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Shin-Soo Choo was held out of the Reds’ lineup on Saturday and is not playing Sunday due to a jammed left thumb that he suffered Friday night in Pittsburgh when he tried to beat out an infield single by diving into first base. But the situation is rapidly improving.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that X-rays turned up negative Sunday morning on Choo’s left thumb and he is aiming to return to action for Monday night’s series-opener against the Mets back at Great American Ballpark. “That eased my mind,” Choo said of the negative X-ray results. “Was worried.”

Choo is hitting .283/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 105 runs scored in 148 games this season. The Reds open play Sunday as a veritable lock for one of the National League Wild Card spots.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.