Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson will likely miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to stabilize a fractured clavicle, writes Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Stephenson was previously expected to be out at last until September, but it’s now clear that his 2022 season is probably over.
In the short term, this does little to impact Cincinnati’s stature, as the last-place Reds have little hope to enter the postseason picture this season. It does, however, cement some playing time for Stephenson’s understudies, Michael Papierski, Austin Romine, and Mark Kolozsvary, the latter of which is currently in Triple-A.
The Reds know what they have in Stephenson, and Romine, for that matter, an established veteran backup. But they can use the rest of this season to evaluate Papierski and Kolozsvary in their capacities as a future partner for Stephenson behind the plate. Aramis Garcia, who is second on the team after Stevenson in plate appearances on the year, is also on the injured list.
For now, Papierski, 26, looks like the most likely to see significant playing time in Stephenson’s stead. Papierski was acquired from the Giants earlier this season after appearing in just five games for San Francisco, with whom he made his Major League debut. With Cincinnati, Papierski has appeared in 24 games, slashing .158/.250/.158 across 65 plate appearances so far this season.