Before the Cincinnati Reds game on Friday night, manager David Bell pointed out how after poor injury luck hurt the team throughout the first few months of the season, the Reds were finally healthy and playing close to the level they thought they were capable of at the start of the year.
Then on Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds lost their best player in catcher Tyler Stephenson to an injury for the third time this season.
In the top of the first inning, Stephenson was hit by a pitch on the right shoulder.
Later in the inning, on a short groundball in front of the plate, Stephenson fielded the ball and tried to make the throw to first.
Stephenson started his throwing motion but cut it off and didn’t release the ball. Clearly in pain, Stephenson exited the game and was replaced by Michael Papierski.
It was the third time this year he has left the game with an injury. In April, Stephenson was hit by a pitch in the face mask and suffered a concussion.
In early June, Stephenson was hit by a foul tip in the hand and broke his right thumb. Then on Friday, he had another unlucky injury.
If Stephenson misses time, Papierski will receive the most playing time at catcher.
Backup catcher Aramis Garcia is on the injured list with a finger injury on his left hand, and Bell said that Garcia is “going to need some more time” to recover.
Before the game, Garcia was throwing with his right hand, but he wasn’t catching the ball with his left hand.
Friday’s game was just the 13th time all season that Stephenson and 2021 Rookie of the Year Jonathan India were both in the lineup.
Then the Reds got another bad break in an injury-riddled season for the team as Stephenson left the game.