Zack Cozart breathed a sigh of relief on Friday night when he found out that his left shin would be OK after he was hit with a fastball by Braves reliever Rex Brothers.
“I think I didn’t do anything major,” Cozart said. “It is one of those things where I will come back [Saturday] and see how it feels.”
It was good news after he left in the seventh inning of the Reds’ 5-3 victory at SunTrust Park. The fastball appeared to hit Cozart flush in the leg. He stayed down in pain for a few moments before walking with the Reds’ training staff down to first base. Cozart initially stayed in the game but was replaced by Jose Peraza at shortstop to start the seventh inning.
Cozart said he is dealing with some swelling and tightness, and after talking with Reds manager Bryan Price, decided to be cautious with the injury. It was one of the reasons Peraza came into the game.
“When you get a ball that hits you right on the shin bone it is only going to stiffen up and get worse,” Price said. “He really wanted to stay in but by the time that happened, he knew he couldn’t cover the same range at shortstop and we got Peraza in.”
Cozart didn’t need X-rays, and said his plan is to work with the Reds’ training staff and take it one step at a time.
“I have iced a couple times already tonight and I will show up [Saturday] pretty early and see how it feels,” Cozart said. “I will be able to judge it pretty good with how I am feeling by waking up and walking around. I don’t anticipate feeling great [Saturday], but we will see.”
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Cozart returned from a right quad injury on Aug. 6, his second stint on the DL with the injury. He has been solid at shortstop and his power has balanced the Reds’ lineup. This season, he has a career-high 17 home runs in 88 games.
“I’m getting really anxious to get back out there. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later. I’m going to keep working hard,” Feldman said on Monday afternoon.
The Reds aren’t concerned about Feldman’s arm after his bullpen sessions and a three-inning simulated game on Wednesday. But he has to show that he can put full pressure on his knee pitching, pivoting and running.
“We’re trying to set goals for Scott that are achievable,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Five days from now, is that achievable to be agile enough to do the things he needs to do, field his position, cover first base, run bases? Only time will tell. That right now is the carrot that’s being dangled, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be ready to do that. We’ll see.”
With a 7-7 record and 4.34 ERA in 19 outings, Feldman had been one of the more dependable starters in Cincinnati’s rotation this season. On July 17 vs. the Nationals, he lasted one inning and struggled as his knee soreness prevented him from going deeper into the start.
Feldman has reported feeling much better since going on the DL and has been running on the pool treadmill, among other drills. But the big things that remain are pitchers’ fielding drills and running the bases.
The Reds have a few factors that make their rotation fluid and rookie Luis Castillo approaching an innings limit is one of them. Between Double-A and the Majors, Castillo has logged 150 2/3 innings, more than the 131 2/3 innings he had last year in the Minors. Price would like him to get 30-35 innings beyond his 2016 total.
“It didn’t look the math was going to allow him to pitch all the way through September,” Price said.
“The biggest challenge is having guys that are coming up that are throwing the ball well and throwing the ball consistently in Triple-A,” Price said. “I’d really like to see the guys that are performing and performing well.”
Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who suffered a setback in his comeback from a UCL strain in his right elbow on Aug. 3 by coming down with tendinitis, resumed a throwing program last week. There has been no pain, according to the reports, but it’s unclear if DeSclafani will have an opportunity to pitch for the Reds before the season ends.