Bats' Senzel calms fears after injury scare

Top Reds prospect returns with an inside-the-park home run

Louisville's Nick Senzel has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games to raise his average from .160 to .267. (Ken Inness/

By Michael Avallone / | April 30, 2018 11:05 PM

Reds fans probably spent the better part of the last 48 hours holding their collective breath after watching Nick Senzel leave Saturday's game with an injury to his left arm. The 22-year-old missed Sunday's contest, but his appearance in Monday's lineup surely eased some of the concern.

His first at-bat did much more than that.

Gameday box score

Cincinnati's top prospect hit an inside-the-park homer with his first swing and reached base three times to help Triple-A Louisville beat Columbus, 7-2, at Louisville Slugger Field. Senzel walked twice and played all nine innings at second base just two days after he landed awkwardly on his left arm while diving for a ball off the bat of Toledo's Chad Huffman.

Video: Louisville's Senzel races around the bases

After 30th-ranked Indians prospect Shawn Morimando retired Bats leadoff hitter Tyler Goeddel to begin the first inning, Senzel jumped on the southpaw's first pitch and sent a drive off the fence in left-center field that bounced away from Clippers left fielder and Indians' No. 9 prospect Greg Allen. The University of Tennessee product raced around the bases and slid safely into home for his third roundtripper of the season, which jump-started a three-run frame for the Bats. Senzel walked in his next two plate appearances before striking out in the fifth and eighth.'s No. 7 overall prospect has picked up his game offensively after stumbling out of the gate. Senzel began the year 4-for-25 (.160) with one double and two RBIs through Louisville's first six games. The Atlanta native has rebounded to hit .320 with six extra-base hits and four multi-hit efforts in his last 13 contests, including Friday night, when he went deep during a three-hit, three-RBI performance. He's driven in a run in three consecutive games while totaling five of his six RBIs in that span.

The Reds were aggressive in assigning the infielder to Triple-A after a strong first full season in 2017. Senzel began that year with Class A Advanced Daytona, but after 62 games was promoted to Double-A Pensacola, where he appeared in 57 games. He hit .321/.391/.514 with 57 extra-base hits and 65 RBIs in 119 games overall across two levels. His 40 doubles tied him with No. 18 Milwaukee prospect Jake Gatewood for the fifth-highest total in the Minors.

MiLB include

Sebastian Elizalde, Phil Gosselin and Brandon Dixon had two hits apiece for Louisville, which broke the game open with a four-run fourth.

Bats starter Cody Reed allowed two runs on two hits and three walks with one strikeout in four innings before giving way to Kyle Crockett (1-0), who fanned two in two perfect frames. Domingo Tapia allowed a hit and a walk with two strikeouts in three scoreless innings for his third save.

Morimando (1-3) was charged with five runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old is winless in his last four starts.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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