Jesse Winker, Jose Barrero, Mike Moustakas

MIAMI – The Cincinnati Reds have been searching for a reliable third outfielder since Jesse Winker went on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 16.

Max Schrock started two games in left field against right-handed pitching. Aristides Aquino started Sunday against the Miami Marlins, but he entered the game with a .136 batting average in 59 at-bats this month. Shogo Akiyama is the best defender of the group, but he’s batting .176 in 68 at-bats since the All-Star break.

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Winker, an All-Star starter, is still a couple of weeks away from returning to the active roster, though he’s beginning baseball activities.

“He started throwing,” Reds manager David Bell said. “(Sunday), he's off, just a day of more recovery, rest. Not swinging a bat yet, but mainly doing strengthening, body strengthening stuff and did add throwing in a couple of days ago.”

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jesse Winker (33) hits an RBI single in the sixth inning of the MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Winker has been sidelined with an intercostal strain. He tried to play through it earlier this month, but quickly re-aggravated the injury and he was forced to exit in the third inning of a game.

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Tyler Naquin has filled Winker’s spot at the top of the lineup admirably, transforming into one of the hottest hitters in the league. If Naquin can continue swinging a hot bat when Winker returns, the Reds’ lineup looks even scarier.

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