Reds prospect Senzel needs elbow surgery

Top Cincinnati prospect out four to six weeks after missing AFL

Nick Senzel managed to play only 44 games for Triple-A Louisville during the 2018 season. (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | October 11, 2018 2:45 PM

It may be the offseason, but Nick Senzel's 2018 calendar year has gotten even rougher. 

The Reds' top prospect will undergo surgery to remove two bone spurs in his left elbow, forcing Senzel to miss four to six weeks, though he's expected to be fully healthy when he reports to Spring Training. The news was first reported by Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"It's just a couple of bone spurs. Now is the time to do it because it won't impact any of his offseason work," Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "It's six weeks of no activity with that elbow and then he'll have a normal offseason progression. We wanted him to go through the instructs to get outfield instruction and get the experience out there. But we didn't want to push it any further than that. It was something that was nagging."

Senzel told Nightengale that he had hoped to play in this year's Arizona Fall League, where he would have manned an outfield position, but that the elbow injury grew too painful to endure any longer.

"It's just frustrating, man," Senzel said to the Inquirer. "I was going to do the Fall League and I wanted to play and I wanted to get out in the outfield and do some reps. That was the plan to play in the Fall League. I couldn't further risk more injury because I knew my elbow has been bothering me for the last 10 months. I played through it for as long as I could. There's no sense in going out there."

The 23-year-old played only 44 games for Triple-A Louisville during the regular season due to other medical issues. He missed almost four weeks in May due to problems brought on by vertigo and then in June suffered a torn tendon in his right index finger that required season-ending surgery.

Video: Senzel goes yard again for Louisville

When on the field, Senzel continued to show the offensive potential that made him the second overall pick in the 2016 Draft out of Tennessee and the game's No. 6 overall prospect. The right-handed slugger hit .310/.378/.509 with six homers and eight steals over his 44 games, finishing with a 144 wRC+ in Triple-A. Drafted as a third baseman, Senzel made 28 starts at second base and one at shortstop with the Bats. He has yet to play a professional game in the outfield, though his bat and athleticism make him a likely fit in one of the corners.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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