When it comes to injuries, the Cincinnati Reds have been fairly lucky this season. Despite a tough injury to Joey Votto, Ryan Madson, Nick Masset and a few others during the season, the Reds have been relatively healthy this season. Zack Cozart has been fighting to get a strained left oblique muscle healed up before the playoffs begin and he appears to be making headway. In fact, the Reds appear ready to maybe get him back on the field fairly soon. As a huge Reds fan, I am worried that perhaps bringing him back before the playoffs could be a mistake.
Experience is not a concern any longer
Cozart has gotten enough reps and at bats in at the pro level to not have to worry about whether he is ready. If he were still a green rookie that has not gotten many at bats I could see bringing him back quicker. With his comfort level being fairly high at this level, I would not rush to get him back out there before he is totally healed up. Why not have him fresh to start out the playoffs?
Cozart starting to swing the bat in practice again
After resting on Sunday and Monday, Cozart took batting practice on Tuesday, September 18, 2012. It appears that he is swinging the bat okay, but they do seem to be taking it slowly. He reported some soreness after doing so, and that should be an alarm bell for the Reds. I once had a strained oblique and it gave me fits all season long because I did not give it proper time to heal.
Cooler temperatures will make it tougher to loosen up
As we inch our way towards October, the temperatures cool off and the muscles become tougher to loosen. Why bring Cozart back out into that scenario until he is clearly healed? The Reds are in great shape as far as positioning for the playoffs, so let him heal up a bit longer.
While I am certain the trainers know more than little old me, it would seem that bringing Cozart back too quickly would be a risk that is not worth taking. There would be little to gain and a ton of things to lose.
*Southern is a life-long Cincinnati Reds fan that grew up watching Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and the boys dominate the Major Leagues. He longs for those days once again in Cincinnati.
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