Alex Blandino tore his ACL last July while turning a double play against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cincinnati Reds infielder underwent surgery a few days later and was hopeful that he would be ready by the time that spring training rolled around. He wasn’t, unfortunately. The infielder joined the Triple-A Louisville Bats on June 3rd, playing for 5 innings before being replaced as scheduled. He went 1-2 that day and started at second base. The next day he went 0-3 with a walk and he scored 2 runs. That day he started at shortstop and played the entire game.
Last night, on the road in Charlotte, Alex Blandino announced his presence with authority. Batting leadoff the 26-year-old unloaded on a pitch for a 435-foot home run. The next time he came to the plate he did a little bit better. In the 3rd inning he once again crushed a long home run, this one nearly knocking over the scoreboard in left-center. It measured in at 441 feet. He would finish the game 3-4, adding a single in the 5th inning. Blandino started and played the entire game at third base, giving him 3 starts at 3 positions to begin his rehab assignment.
Alex Blandino, as a position player, gets to rehab for 20 days. That means on June 23rd the Reds are going to have to make a decision on what to do with him. Currently he’s on the injured list, but after that he will need to be activated. And when he is, the Reds are going to have to make a roster move. Whether that’s with Blandino, or with someone else going to Triple-A is unknown at this point.
But it’s going to likely be Alex Blandino that gets optioned. He doesn’t have the same position flexibility as the other “bench” guys do. Jose Peraza can play the same spots on the infield, and while we haven’t seen it in action yet, he’s probably the back up center fielder, too. And he’s been getting some starts in left when a lefty is on the mound. Kyle Farmer is the 3rd catcher and can also play the same spots Blandino plays. Having him allows the team to use either catcher during a game without worry. The short bench is coming into play here, but it just seems like Blandino will be the odd man out when it’s time.