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'I'm excited to see the stadium packed': Jonathan India ready for his first true Opening Day in Cincinnati

Brewers Reds Baseball
Posted at 8:28 PM, Feb 24, 2023

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — After a sophomore season riddled with injuries, Reds second baseman Jonathan India is ready for a healthy start to 2023.

The former Rookie of the Year struggled to stay in the lineup at the beginning of the 2022 season, placed on the IL twice in just the first month of play. When he returned to the team for good in June after a rehab assignment with Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliate, India was unable to replicate the production he had one year before.

India played 103 games for the Reds, hitting .249 with just 14 home runs and 41 runs batted in. In his rookie campaign, India had 23 homers and 69 RBI with a .269 batting average. His wins above replacement, which represents what a player adds to their team above a typical replacement player, was -0.4 in 2022.

"It was a tough year, just battling a lot of injuries and playing through stuff," India said. "I wanted to make it a point to play at least 100 games still and be on the field with my guys. It was just a tough stretch to watch my guys go through what they went through and not be able to help."

That tough stretch was when Cincinnati started 3-18 in the month of April. As his teammate Joey Votto said, the Reds put themselves in a hole that would have been nearly impossible to dig out of.

"It's difficult to offer hope to a fanbase when you start from so far behind — not only a fanbase, but also inside of the clubhouse," Votto said.

India said the team entered training camp knowing they have to get off to a better start. Suddenly a veteran among this team's young roster, the 26-year-old said his goal is to be healthy the entire year and ensure he's there to help his team succeed.

"I want to be the guy that plays 162 games, be on the field every day, no matter what," India said. "That's just something I need to prove to myself. I know I can do it, just I was limited last year ... this year's gonna be different."

India said the offseason was the mental reset he needed to get after his goals, which include becoming an All-Star and winning a Gold Glove.

"I want to be the guy ... that everyone looks up to says 'Oh he's out there for 162, he's giving everything he's got,'" India said. "And I'm a winner, I'm a competitor, so that's what I want to be."

As training camp goes along, he's confident in his teammates' abilities.

"They are working hard — and I like that," India said. "It's their first big league camp for some of them. As long as they just buy into our mindset this year, they'll have success. They look good — Elly (De La Cruz) is a hell of an athlete and I'm excited to see what he does."

While this is his third year with the Reds, this will be India's first true Opening Day. COVID protocols impacted the 2021 season, while Cincinnati's opener in 2022 was delayed due to the lockout. India said he's excited for March 30.

"I'm excited to see the stadium packed, I'm excited for the parade," India said. "I love Reds fans. They're the best in the game and they treat us with such respect and they give us a lot of love, so I've got nothing but love for the city and I'm very excited to see how it turns out."

The Reds kick off the 2023 season at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday, March 30 at 4:10 p.m.