CINCINNATI — Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick tore cartilage in his right shoulder while sliding into third base during the season opener and will need surgery, leaving the defending NL Central champions without one of their main run producers for an uncertain period.
The team didn’t project how long Ludwick will be out.
Ludwick dislocated his right shoulder on a headfirst slide in the third inning of Cincinnati’s 3-1, 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. He said the shoulder popped out when his hand caught on the dirt.
An MRI on Tuesday — the team’s day off — found the torn cartilage. He’ll have surgery on Wednesday. The Reds plan to put him on the 15-day disabled list and replace him on the roster before the second game of their series against the Angels.
It’s a significant setback for the Reds, who relied on Ludwick’s right-handed hitting to balance left-handers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in the middle of the lineup. Ludwick batted cleanup, between Votto and Bruce.
His value to the team was evident when they gave him a two-year, $15 million dollar deal to stay last December, one of several moves to keep the defending division champions intact for another playoff run.
The 34-year-old outfielder was a key component in their championship season. After Votto went down with torn knee cartilage that caused him to miss 48 games, Ludwick became the Reds’ top run producer. He batted .340 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs while Votto recuperated.
Ludwick also led the team with three homers during a five-game series loss to San Francisco in the opening round of the playoffs. Overall, he batted .275 with 26 homers and 80 RBIs in 125 games last season, including 107 starts in left field.
Chris Heisey took over for Ludwick after he got hurt Monday. Heisey started 80 games in the outfield last season and batted .265 with seven homers and 31 RBIs.
Manager Dusty Baker was noncommittal after the game when asked if Heisey would take over the starting job in left field. Baker will have to juggle his lineup to try to make up for the loss of Ludwick’s right-handed production.
“There’s quite a few things that go into that equation,” Baker said. “We’ll see.”
The Reds were generally healthy last season, when they won their second division title in three years. The back end of the bullpen was wiped out by injuries during spring training, but all five starters made it through the regular season without having to miss a game because of injury. Votto’s injury was the most significant to a starting position player.
Now, they’re down one player after one game.
“It’s disheartening,” Baker said. “We’ve done so well the last couple of years with injuries.”
Venters receives injection in sprained elbow: In Atlanta, Braves left-hander Jonny Venters will be shut down for a month after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his sprained pitching elbow.
The team announced Tuesday that Venters was examined by Dr. James Andrews, who performed ligament-replacement surgery on Venters’ elbow in 2005. The pitcher felt tightness in his elbow during his last spring training game and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday.
The Braves say Venters will be shut down for four weeks, then begin a throwing program.
CHICAGO TO HOST CIVIL RIGHTS GAME: When Major League Baseball sought a host for its 2013 Civil Rights Game, the Chicago White Sox were quick to volunteer.
And the more MLB executives such as Frank Robinson, a Hall of Famer and baseball’s first black manger, considered a commitment, the more sense Chicago made.
“Each time we thought about a city, it always came back to Chicago,” said Robinson, MLB’s executive director of baseball development. “The enthusiasm and the rich history of civil rights movement here and the people involved in the civil rights movement and the diversity in this city ... in the end we said we can’t do any better than presenting it to the White Sox.”
On Tuesday, Robinson said the White Sox will host the seventh edition of the game Aug. 24 against the Texas Rangers, capping a host of other activities saluting efforts to secure equal rights for Americans.
The game debuted with spring training exhibitions in Memphis, Tenn., in 2007 and 2008 followed by regular-season games in Cincinnati (2009-10) and Atlanta (2011-12). Moving the game to Chicago, the largest city so far to host, is expected to have a beneficial impact.
Kazmir injures abdominal muscle, could miss start: In Toronto, Cleveland pitcher Scott Kazmir has a sore abdominal muscle and might miss his first scheduled start for the Indians.
Kazmir felt sore after playing catch on flat ground during a team workout Monday. The Indians open the season Tuesday night at Toronto.
Manager Terry Francona said Kazmir will be reevaluated after he tries to throw a bullpen on Wednesday. The 29-year-old lefty was set to start Saturday at Tampa Bay.
Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the major leagues in almost two years. A two-time All-Star with Tampa Bay, he was released by the Angels in 2011 and pitched last season in independent ball.
The Indians selected Kazmir for the 25-man roster and optioned left-hander Nick Hagadone to Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland also outrighted lefty David Huff to Columbus and had outfielder Ezequiel Carrera claimed off waivers by Philadelphia.
Marcum unable to throw; SANTANA HAS SURGERY: In New York, Shaun Marcum was unable to pitch a simulated game for the Mets because of pain in his neck. He will not be able to come off the disabled list to start Sunday against the Miami Marlins.
Marcum had been set to throw Tuesday at the team’s spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Marcum received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder for an impingement last month, then felt neck discomfort during a bullpen session on March 25. He did not pitch in any spring training games after March 16.
Johan Santana had shoulder surgery Tuesday for the second time in 31 months.
The Mets said the 34-year-old left-hander was operated on at the Hospital for Special Surgery, where team medical director David Altchek repaired a tear in the capsule in the front of his left shoulder. The team said the two-time Cy Young Award winner was to be hospitalized overnight.
Santana is likely to miss the entire season for the second time in three years.
Cano switching agents from Boras to Jay-Z: In New York, Robinson Cano plans to switch agents from Scott Boras to a new company formed by musician Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and CAA Sports.
Cano will be represented in baseball matters by CAA Sports’ Brodie Van Wagenen. The New York Yankees second baseman is making $15 million this season and can become a free agent at the end of the World Series.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement.
As of Tuesday, Boras remained Cano’s agent listed with the Major League Baseball Players Association.
“I have yet to speak to Robinson, so I’m not going to comment until I talk with him,” Boras said.
While the Yankees usually wait for contracts to expire before negotiating new agreements with players, they have said they hope to reach a deal with the 30-year-old Cano while he remains under their control. Boras usually prefers that his clients become free agents to increase bidders and maximize their values.
The new company, Roc Nation Sports, is led by Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, and Juan Perez, who will be the company president. Jay-Z, a part owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, is friendly with injured Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, a former Boras client.
“Because of my love of sports, it was a natural progression to form a company where we can help top athletes in various sports the same way we have been helping artists in the music industry for years,” Carter said in a statement.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Feb. 28 that the team had made a significant offer to Cano for a new deal. The agent fees for Cano’s next contract could become subject to litigation between Boras and the new company.