PITTSBURGH – The Reds added injury to insult Sunday when they lost third baseman Eugenio Suarez to a fractured thumb during a 5-0 loss to the Pirates.
Reds manager Bryan Price said Suarez would miss "a significant amount of time" after being hit by a pitch from Pirates starter Jameson Taillon in the fourth inning.
Cliff Pennington and Phil Gosselin are best bets to replace Suarez at third, according to Reds.com. But the Reds could also promote top prospect Nick Senzel from Louisville. They would just have to wait until Saturday to avoid starting his arbitration clock early and losing a year of club control before Senzel can become a free agent.
Either way, it's a big blow to a team already reeling from six losses in their first eight games.
“He’s one of our best players,” catcher Tucker Barnhart said. “Any time you lose a guy like him in the middle of the order, it’s rough.”
The Reds sent Suarez, who hit a tie-breaking homer and had five RBI in Saturday’s 7-4 win, back to Cincinnati to be examined by team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek.
“I knew it was probably going to miss some time, when we went out and inspected it,” Price said. “Immediately half the nail was turning different colors and there was bleeding around the thumb. I didn’t anticipate the thumb being broken.”
Suarez is a vital part of Cincinnati’s rebuilding process. The Reds signed him to a $66 million, seven-year contract in March.
It was a bad day all around for the Reds. They got just one hit, a single by pitcher Tyler Mahle, as Taillon pitched a complete-game shutout.
“He attacked our lineup and didn’t make many mistakes and we didn’t do much offensively at all,” Price said.
The former first-round pick was solid during his rookie season in 2016 but missed time last year after being diagnosed with testicular cancer last May. He returned after a five-week absence and struggled during the second half as Pittsburgh fell out of contention.
Mahle (1-1), who limited the Cubs to one hit in six innings in his 2018 debut, didn't fare so well in his second start.
“It was one of those starts where you battle the whole time,” Mahle said.
Mahle surrendered nine hits - including two homers - in 4 2/3 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
Gregory Polanco keyed a four-run outburst against Mahle in the fifth by drilling a shot to the seats in right field for his third homer of the season. Corey Dickerson added his first home run since being acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in February.