Reds' Gennett expected to miss 8-12 weeks

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- All-Star second baseman Scooter Gennett is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks with a severe right groin strain, costing the Cincinnati Reds their most productive hitter less than a week before Opening Day.

Gennett injured the right side of his groin Friday while making a play on a ground ball hit by Milwaukee's Yasmani Grandal. He had an MRI, and the Reds said Saturday that he's expected to miss two to three months.

"He is in a lot of pain," said manager David Bell, who was with Gennett when the medical staff read his MRI. "He wants to play so bad. That makes it tough, but he's already thinking positive."

The injury forces the Reds to rearrange their infield -- which had been one set area of the team -- heading into the season opener Thursday against Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park. Bell plans to move shortstop Jose Peraza to second base and use newcomer Jose Iglesias at shortstop.

Peraza has played second, a major factor in Bell's decision. The Reds signed Iglesias to a minor league deal on Feb. 23, giving them depth at shortstop.

"Peraza will continue to play some shortstop," Bell said. "We still see him as a shortstop. There were concerns about moving him back to second because he worked so hard at shortstop, but the willingness of him to move made it an easy conversation."

The Reds overhauled their outfield and their starting rotation through a series of offseason trades, but the infield had been set with Joey Votto at first, Gennett at second, Peraza at shortstop and Eugenio Suarez at third.

Gennett's injury is a significant setback to the offense.

The Reds claimed Gennett off waivers from the Brewers a day before they broke camp for the 2017 season. Gennett adjusted his swing and had a career year. He became the first major leaguer to have four homers, five hits and 10 RBI in a game. He also led the majors with four grand slams, joining Lou Gehrig as the only players with a four-homer game and a four-grand slam season.

Last season, he became an All-Star for the first time. His ninth-inning, pinch-hit homer sent the All-Star game to extra innings. Gennett finished second to Milwaukee's Christian Yelich for the batting crown with a .310 average.

In the last two years, Gennett has 50 homers and 189 RBI, joining Dave Parker and Deron Johnson as the only Reds to put up such numbers in their first two seasons with Cincinnati. He is only the second baseman in Reds' history with eight homers and 24 RBI in a month -- and he has done it twice.

After making $5.7 million last season, he avoided arbitration and settled for a one-year deal for $9,775,000. Gennett, who turns 29 in May, is a free agent after this season. He'd like to stay in Cincinnati, but the Reds haven't been interested in discussing a long-term deal.

Gennett ranged to his left for a ball off the bat of Yasmani Grandal leading off the second inning Friday. Gennett slid to make the stop and threw to pitcher Robert Stephenson covering first for the out. Gennett went to his knees and was helped off by Reds head athletic trainer Steve Baumann and manager David Bell.

The 28-year-old Gennett reached the majors with the Brewers in 2013 and was claimed off waivers by his hometown Reds near the end of spring training two years ago. He made his first All-Star team last season, hitting .310 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs.

With Gennett sidelined, the Reds are expected to move Jose Peraza from shortstop to second base. Veteran Jose Iglesias, who was signed by the Reds this offseason, is expected to start at shortstop.

Top prospect Nick Senzel also could be a candidate to replace Gennett. Senzel was reassigned to minor league camp earlier Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.