NL Central Notes: Candelario, Donovan, Taillon

Reds third baseman Jeimer Candelario took an early exit from Wednesday night’s contest with the Phillies. He appeared to hurt himself on a swing in his final at-bat, and while he smacked a double on the very next pitch, he continued to grimace from second base. After the game, manager David Bell said that “hopefully” it was nothing more than “hyperextension of the elbow” (per Bally Sports Cincinnati). He said the team does not believe the injury is serious, but they will reevaluate Candelario on Friday before their series opener against the Mets.

Not so long ago, the Reds appeared to have a playing time crunch in the infield. However, Noelvi Marte’s 80-game suspension and Matt McLain’s shoulder surgery cleared up the logjam. If Candelario requires an IL stint, Cinncinati’s infield depth will suddenly be tested. Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand can play third base, but they’re already playing regular roles in left field and at first base, respectively. Santiago Espinal, acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays late this spring, is another option to fill in at the hot corner.

In other injury news from around the NL Central…

  • Brendan Donovan was also removed mid-game on Wednesday. Leading off for the Cardinals, he was hit by a pitch in the very first plate appearance of the game. Several innings later, he was hit again, and this time, he did not return to left field in the bottom half of the frame. The second pitch hit him on his throwing elbow (per John Denton of MLB.com). Donovan, a versatile utility player, has played six of his seven games in left field this season. The Cardinals already have three outfielders on the IL – Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar, and Dylan Carlson – and can hardly afford to lose another.
  • In more positive injury news, Jameson Taillon is progressing well as he recovers from a stiff lower back. According to Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times, the righty’s live batting practice session went well on Tuesday. He is set to make a rehab start on Sunday. If all goes well in his rehab appearance, he could still be on track to rejoin the Cubs in mid-April; two weeks ago, manager Craig Counsell suggested mid-April was the earliest Taillon could return (per Lee).

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Title: NL Central Notes: Candelario, Donovan, Taillon
Author: Leo Morgenstern

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