Ludwick out three months, Phillips set to bat cleanup

4/3/13 in MLB   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Ludwick out three months, Phillips set to bat cleanupFor Cincinnati Reds' outfielder Ryan Ludwick, the first game of the 2013 season was short lived, as he was forced from the game with a shoulder injury in the third inning. As if getting hurt on Opening Day wasn't disappointing enough, further tests revealed that the shoulder would require surgery, and Ludwick is now expected to miss the next three months. The Reds' left fielder - who batted .275 last season with 26 home runs and 80 RBI's - will surely be missed in the lineup.

28 year old Chris Heisey is now expected to be the Reds' starting left fielder. The Reds were confident enough in Heisey that manager Dusty Baker suggested he would play him more than a typical fourth outfielder, so the loss of Ludwick shouldn't be as devastating as it could have been. With a career average of .258 and only 33 home runs across 830 at bats, however, it is no secret that Heisey is a downgrade on both average and power from Ludwick.

Outfielder Derrick Robinson will fill the open spot on the roster during Ludwick's stint on the DL. Robinson, 25 years old, batted .268 with 73 runs and 23 stolen bases last year with Triple-A Omaha. His power numbers - two home runs and 28 RBI's - were very low, and he will likely be used mostly as a pinch-runner and defensive substitute.

The man who may be licking his chops as a result of Ludwick going down is Brandon Phillips. Ludwick was set to hit fourth in the Reds' lineup this season, and Phillips is the man Dusty Baker has chosen to bat cleanup while Ludwick is sidelined. This should mean plenty of RBI opportunities for Phillips, who will be batting behind former MVP Joey Votto. Though he has yet to get on base this season, Phillips has career highs of 30 home runs, 98 RBI's, and a .300 batting average. It's unlikely he'll match any of those numbers this season, but you can see the potential he has to be a difference-maker in the middle of the lineup.
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