Monday can't come soon enough for the Reds.
The day will mark the glorious return of left fielder Ryan Ludwick as the team plans to activate him prior to its game in Chicago, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The 35-year-old has been on the disabled list since Opening Day after suffering a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The injury was sustained when Ludwick slid into third base against the Los Angeles Angels.
His return is certainly good news for an offense that desperately needs another run-producing bat in the lineup. In 2012, Ludwick produced 26 home runs and 80 RBI while maintaining a .275 average at the dish. When Joey Votto went down with a knee injury midway through last season, Ludwick was responsible for carrying the bulk of the offensive weight, and he definitely came through.
However, Ludwick stopped short of promising the same kind of production once he returns, admitting that he still needs time to get back into top form.
“I want to help the team win and I think people are expecting me to be in mid-season form and hit 10, 15 home runs in the last two months. Realistically, I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking about taking productive at-bats, whether that’s drawing a walk, hitting singles, doubles, home runs. Swinging at strikes, letting balls go by, that’s what I’m idling with right now, strike zone judgement and recognizing pitches out of the hand. The sooner that comes, the sooner I can get back to old form. I don’t think shoulder or the power is an issue, because it’s there in BP, it’s there in the cage, it’s getting back to game speed mentality and being able to handle that speed of the game.”
Ludwick was just 6-for-44 in 13 games between Single-A Dayton and Triple-A Louisville during his rehab. But he did point out the fact that he had a hit in each of his last four games.
Does he worry about getting hurt, again?
“I’ve been injured so much, I don’t worry about getting hurt. I’ve had six surgeries now, before this I had five, I try to play the game as hard as possible. If I get hurt, I’m 35-years-old, what am I going to do? I play as hard as possible. It’s like the other night, they told me not to dive in Triple-A, but it’s an instinct play and I dove head-first and caught a ball. I don’t worry about getting hurt. If I get hurt, I get hurt.”