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Down Goes Gruler

CINCINNATI–The Reds’ dreadful luck with the health of their pitching prospects persisted with righthander Chris Gruler, last year’s top pick. However, time and history could favor the organization and Gruler.

Gruler had arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder to repair a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff in late April. He immediately began a rehabilitation program. Gruler, who received a $2.5 million bonus when the Reds took him with the No. 3 overall selection a year ago, is expected to miss nine to 12 months but could be ready to resume throwing by spring training.

The Reds firmly believe Gruler can make a complete recovery.

"When a player has surgery, it’s never a good thing," said Dr. Tim Kremchek, Cincinnati’s medical director. "On the other hand, the procedure performed has a very good track record."

Other Reds prospects who have been through the same surgery include righthanders Chris Booker and Josh Hall and lefty Cory Stewart.

Gruler, 19, initially reported shoulder discomfort last year. After going 0-1, 3.89 in 11 starts between Rookie-level Billings and Dayton, he cut short his time in instructional league last fall because of shoulder soreness. The option of surgery was mentioned at that time but after much discussion, the Reds decided to let Gruler try to improve the shoulder through rest.

After an offseason of strengthening his shoulder, Gruler had a rough spring and his velocity was down from his usual low- to mid-90s. Gruler started this season 0-2, 27.00 in three starts for low Class A Dayton.

He was demoted to extended spring training after his disastrous start, but it was obvious that his shoulder hadn’t stopped bothering him. He headed to Cincinnati to have his shoulder examined by Reds doctors before heading to the Reds complex in Florida. That’s when Gruler and the Reds opted for surgery.

Red Hots

• Brandon Larson’s stint at third base in Cincinnati lasted just three weeks. He hit .083-0-5 in 48 at-bats and was optioned to Triple-A Louisville, where he hit .340-25-69 last season and got off to a .327-5-10 start in 52 at-bats this year.

• Third baseman Mark Schramek was off to a hot start, hitting .301-0-16 with a .383 on-base percentage through his first 83 pro at-bats for low Class A Dayton.

• Previous organization report: Jeff Austin

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