Cincinnati Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick, who dislocated his shoulder during the first game of the year on Monday, has been placed on the DL, and will miss at least 13 weeks after surgery to repair torn cartilage. He'll be replaced on the active roster by Derrick Robinson, and it's expected that Chris Heisey will get most of the reps in left field while Ludwick is hurt.
The Reds re-signed the 34-year old Ludwick to a two-year, $15 million deal this winter after he hit 26 homers last year with Cincinnati, his first with the club after spending 2011 with the Padres and Pirates. The 2,6 fWAR he amasssed in 2012 was his highest total since his breakout 2008 season with the Cardinals, and he was scheduled to be the Reds cleanup hitter this year, in between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.
With Ludwick out until the summer, the 28-year old Heisey will gain substantial playing time for the first time in his career. Heisey has been a part-time player for the Reds over the last three years, with his playing time steadily increasing in each. In 2012, Heisey had a .716 OPS and seven homers, but he had a .796 OPS and 18 homers in 2011. The Reds could probably do a lot worse in left than Heisey, and he'll hit second for them tonight, with Brandon Phillips dropping from second to fourth in the lineup in between Votto and Bruce.
If Heisey struggles replacing Ludwick in the lineup, I'm sure the calls to promote top prospect Billy Hamilton will grow louder and louder. He'll start the year with AAA Louisville as their center fielder, but the Reds are more than likely committed (for now) to the idea of playing Shin-Soo Choo in center full-time instead of pushing Hamilton to the majors with his limited experience in center. But if next month, Heisey is struggling offensively, Choo is struggling defensively, and Hamilton is holding his own in AAA, Cincinnati could make the move and promote their speedy top prospect, though he'll provide a vastly different skillset compared to Ludwick or Heisey to the Reds.