For the first time since Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker re-aggravated his intercostal injury on Sept. 17, Winker was back on the field at Great American Ball Park for pregame warmups on Friday.
He went through a series of agility drills and played catch with a trainer, taking the next step in his recovery progression.
“We’re starting back to where we were a couple weeks ago,” Winker said. “This was the next step.”
Winker missed a month with an intercostal strain and returned from the injured list on Sept. 17 for an important series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then Winker re-aggravated his intercostal injury on a swing in the eighth inning of his first game back.
There isn’t a specific timeline on Winker’s return or on whether Winker will return before the end of the season.
“I’m just doing what (the training staff) tells me to do,” Winker said. “That’s about it.”
Winker ranks sixth in MLB in OPS this season, trailing a few MVP candidates in Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Winker is having a career season in 2021, and he has nearly twice as many doubles and home runs as his previous career highs.
Even though Winker has only played in 110 games, he has 32 doubles, 24 home runs and 71 RBI. He immediately went back into the No. 2 spot in the Reds lineup when he came off the injured list.
After Winker went on the injured list, the Reds lost four of their next five games.
“(Winker) is saying it’s much different at this point from when he injured it the other day compared to this point from when he originally injured it,” Reds manager David Bell said on Thursday. “It’s not as bad. It doesn’t sound like it’s nearly as bad. It doesn’t mean that he’s going to be back in the next few days or anything.”