Reds reserve infielder Alex Blandino, who injured his right knee in the ninth inning of a 12-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a rainy Friday night in Cincinnati, will need surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the team announced Saturday.
Blandino, a 25-year-old rookie, told reporters he will have season-ending surgery on Monday, followed by a recovery of five to six months. Blandino was a late-inning replacement at second base as both teams were inserting bench players.
Blandino fielded a ground ball behind second base, tagged the bag and was in the process of throwing to first to complete a double play when baserunner Max Moroff, himself a late-inning replacement, appeared to get his feet stuck in the dirt as he tried to slide. Instead, he rolled into Blandino, who needed help to get off the field.
“I have a good support staff here to take care of me,” Blandino said. “It’s definitely unfortunate, and I’m pretty bummed out. It’s something guys come back from, and they’re fine. I’m looking forward to getting back out there as soon as possible.”
The Reds recalled Brandon Dixon from Triple-A Louisville on Saturday to take Blandino’s roster spot.
“I heard from Max after the game,” Blandino said. “He was apologetic and felt really bad about it. I think it had to do with the muddy conditions out there, he kind of stuck on his slide and it turned out to be a pretty not ideal way to slide. But I know it’s not what he intended.”
Blandino, who pinch-hit for Scooter Gennett in the eighth inning and singled on Friday, hit .234 with a home run and eight RBIs in 147 plate appearances in his debut season.
The Reds drafted him in the first round, 29th overall, in 2014.
“He really did (make strides),” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “He came up from the minor leagues where he started this year and just kind of solidified himself here. He put himself in a position where he never thought he had to go back. He got enough at-bats to stay relatively sharp. He did lead our club in pinch-hits and got some big ones for us.
“I think there’s more in the future for him than coming off the bench to hit. That was his role on our club. He did a great job.”
Dixon, 26, was hitting .346 at Louisville, including .429 in his last 10 games. Dixon hit .219 for the Reds over 29 games in his previous stint. He was optioned on July 4.
—Field Level Media