NL Central Notes: Moustakas, Pirates, Senzel, Reds

Brewers infielder Mike Moustakas will try to play through a fracture in the tip of his right ring finger, and is hopeful of avoiding an injured list stint.  (Todd Rosiak of Milwaukee Journal Sentinal was among those to report the news.)  Moustakas suffered the injury yesterday while fielding a ground ball and left the game after the sixth inning.  X-rays were negative, though Moustakas isn’t in the Brewers’ lineup today.  The third baseman-turned-second baseman has received mixed reviews at his new position depending on which defensive metric you prefer — the Moose has a +3.9 UZR/150 but minus-2 Defensive Runs Saved over 137 1/3 innings as a second baseman this season.  No matter the position, Moustakas has continued to hit, with six homers and a .239/.349/.549 slash line through 83 plate appearances.

Some more from around the NL Central…

  • Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington updated the media (including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on the status of several injured Bucs players.  A collision between Starling Marte and Erik Gonzalez during Friday’s sent both men to the injured list, with Gonzalez on the 60-day IL with a broken collarbone and Marte to the 10-day IL with abdominal wall and quadriceps bruises.  While Marte has the shorter timeline on paper, Huntington wasn’t certain when Marte could be back in action.  Corey Dickerson isn’t yet ready for a minor league rehab assignment as he recovers from a shoulder strain, while Gregory Polanco (labrum surgery) could potentially make his season debut sometime this week.
  • In other Pirates injury news, the team placed catcher Jacob Stallings on the 10-day IL with a cervical neck strain.  Stallings’ roster spot will be filled by Einar Diaz, who was activated off the IL after recovering from a virus that sidelined him for two weeks’ worth of Spring Training action.
  • Top Reds prospect Nick Senzel is scheduled to play in his first Triple-A game of the season on Tuesday, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes.  Senzel was sidelined late in Spring Training with an ankle injury, so it will end up being roughly a month-long absence for the infielder-turned-center fielder.  Senzel has already been playing some extended Spring Training games, and will now return to Triple-A Louisville after posting an .887 OPS in 193 PA at the top minor league level in 2018.  The Reds are expected to promote Senzel at some point this season, though they’ll first want to see the 23-year-old get an extended stretch of good health, as Senzel has been plagued by a variety of injuries over the last year.
  • The Reds’ starting pitching has looked much better this season than in the last several years, and catcher Tucker Barnhart feels part of the reason for the improvement is an increased focus on analytics.  Under new manager David Bell and new pitching coach Derek Johnson, discussions with Reds coaches are “more numbers-driven now,” Barnhart tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila.  “They’re more percentage-driven, and more based on exit velocities and probable outcomes. Things like that. I still trust my eyes, but in the back of my mind there are always the percentages of what’s supposed to work. You’d be naive not to fall back on that, especially if you’re stuck calling a pitch.”

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