Scott Schebler didn’t know how much his shoulder pain was affecting his swing until it was gone.
The Reds right fielder returned Friday from 18 days on the disabled list and has gone 4-for-8 with three doubles, two runs, one RBI and a walk.
That’s as many hits as he logged in 52 at-bats over his first 17 games since the All-Star break, which sent his batting average plummeting from .254 to .228. He’d boosted it back to .234 going into Tuesday’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs.
“Yeah, I dug myself a great hole,” the 26-year-old left-handed batter said. “I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m excited to be back. Being on the DL is something I’ve never really experienced before. I’ve got to make up a lot of ground.”
Schebler bruised his left rotator cuff trying to make a diving catch. He tried to play through the pain, primarily because it wasn’t that acute.
“It was one of those things you don’t think is that bad,” he said. “It was just kind of stuck there. I really didn’t realize how much it was affecting my swing. After I got a cortisone shot and took a week off and then starting swinging, I thought, ‘Maybe this was a big player in how I was swinging.’ Before that, my shoulder just felt like it was locked up for like a month and a half.”
Scott’s surgery: Right-handed pitcher Scott Feldman had season-ending arthroscopic surgery to “clean out” his right knee, the Reds announced Tuesday.
Feldman started his second knee-related stint on the disabled list since the All-Star break on Friday. Manager Bryan Price had mixed feelings about the news.
“Well, it’s not good in one way because we know we’re not going to have him the rest of the year, but it is good news in that they solved the problem,” said Price, who’s beginning to grow a goatee. “He’s been dealing with it for quite a while — probably longer than he should have. It was a situation that needed to be addressed. It was something that had to be taken care of.”
The 34-year-old Feldman, signed by the Reds as a free agent in January, went 7-7 with a 4.77 earned-run average in 21 games, all starts, before the surgery. Price wasn’t sure when Feldman would be able to start off-season conditioning.
“We’ll know more about the timing in the next couple of days,” said Price, adding that Feldman could be a candidate next spring for a shot on the Reds staff.
“I would have to see some reliability in his health,” Price said. “I’m pulling for him to have a full recovery and be a factor moving forward.”
Due dates: The Reds are pondering their options behind the plate, which is due to have some glaring holes within the next two weeks.
Devin Mesoraco is sidelined for the forseeable future with a fractured left foot, an injury he suffered when hit by a pitch on the most recent road trip. The wives of Mesoraco’s fellow catchers, Tucker Barnhart and Stuart Turner, are expected to give birth within one day of each other on Aug. 30 and 31.
That means all three catchers on the Reds’ 40-man roster will be unavailable. Not only will the team have to find replacements, but roster spots will have to be opened for them.
“We have our internal candidates, and we might have external candidates as well,” Price said.
The most likely method of creating roster spots will be moving players such as Feldman to the 60-day disabled list.
Asher back: Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski (3-2, 5.36 ERA) will fill Feldman’s slot in the rotation, at least for Wednesday’s second game of the three-game series against the defending World Series champions and National League Central Division leaders. The start will be his eighth for the Reds this season to go with nine relief appearances. The rookie’s last start also was his only previous appearance against the Cubs, and he set career highs by allowing 10 hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 15-5 Chicago win at Wrigley Field on Aug. 14.
Left-hander Mike Montgomery (3-6, 3.64), Wednesday’s Cubs scheduled starter, is filling the rotation slot left open when Jon Lester was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday with shoulder problems.