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Hope Springs Eternal as Reds host Nationals on Opening Day

Hope springs eternal every spring with the beginning on the Major League Baseball season. This spring in Cincinnati, hope has been shaded with questions.


After a breakout season in 2023, Youth Movement 2.0 begins Thursday as the Reds host the Washington Nationals.


The major concern for Reds fans is injuries:

1.     Matt McLain underwent successful surgery to address cartilage damage and repair his labrum in his left shoulder on Tuesday. The Reds say an exact timeline is still to be determined as it has a wide range of possibilities. Team officials hope to have McLain back this season. 

2.     The Reds will also have outfielder T.J. Friedl beginning the season on the IL after injuring his wrist. Friedl sustained a small fracture to the distal radius of his right wrist on March 16th. On Sunday, manager David Bell indicated that Friedl could be cleared for game action in six weeks.

3.     Starting pitchers Brandon Williamson and Nick Lodolo will begin the season on the IL as well. Williamson has been sidelined with shoulder soreness, while Lodolo return has been delayed after recovering from last year’s tibia injury. Lodolo stayed in Arizona to pitch in a minor league game on Tuesday and will make two starts for the Louisville Bats before rejoining the Reds on April 10th.


Meanwhile, Noelvi Marte will serve an 80-game suspension for PED use, which opens up a crowded infield for the likes of Jonathan India, Christian Encarnarcion-Strand and free agent signee Jeimer Candelario will occupy several spots on the diamond, along with the versatile Spencer Steer.


Fans will hope Elly De La Cruz will improve from his 2023 debut as starting shortstop. Cruz started hot, then cooled as the Reds faded from contention last September. Cruz batted .280 with a .379 OBP during spring training.


The Reds will send Frankie Montas to the mound for Opening Day verses the Nationals, which will feature former Reds players Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker.


Gametime is set for 4:10 p.m. Thursday. Inside pitch at 3:40 on WMDJ.