Ryan Ludwick slid head first into third base on opening day and separated his right shoulder.
"We will watch him the next couple of days," Dusty Baker said. "We will see what we have. We don't want to put him in Jay's spot. We don't want to put him in Brandon's spot. Those guys have done the job. We have him slated for the sixth spot. It's a run producing spot. As time goes on that is subject to change."
Ludwick was 6-for-44 in his 13-game rehab assignment with a home run and four RBI. He played three games at Dayton and 10 more at Louisville. Ludwick singled in his start in leftfield for the Bats on Friday.
“It’s been a lot tougher than I thought it would be," Ludwick said. "Mainly, it’s been the speed of the game. Normally, I hit for 2-1/2 months and then have spring training and everybody’s starting off even. This was a week-and-a-half, and everybody else was in mid-season form. My shoulder’s fine, but my swing is long. I made a diving catch the other day. I wasn’t supposed to do that, but instinct took over. It’s just the timing of the game has been a lot harder than I thought.”
Ludwick has some things to iron out and is somewhat concerned about his performance while on rehab.
“There are two ways to look at that. I use video as a crutch," Ludwick said.. "Up here, I can look at the guys I’m going to face. I can see (Travis Wood) in my head. The guys down there, I had not clue about what the threw. I finished up strong. I had a hit in each of the last four games. I hit a home run, so I know the power’s there. Now it’s a matter of trying to get into mid-season form as soon as possible. Being up here with the video and the facilities where I can train and eating good food should help.”
The Reds aren't sure what to expect out of a player that has spent so much time out of action.
“I know people expect me to hit 10 or 15 home runs, but I’m trying not to think about that. I’m more concerned about strike zone judgement and seeing the pitch out of the hand," Ludwick said.
Fans expect him to be savior
“I’m not going to say that’s unfair. I helped the team last year," Ludwick said. "I signed the two-year contract. “
Feel like it could help being fresh while everybody else has played three months?
“It could. My legs are fine. My upper body’s weak. I haven’t been able to do much lifting. I’ve done a lot of shoulder work,” Ludwick said.