Reds playing it safe with Cozart

Reds playing it safe with Cozart

CINCINNATI -- The Reds appear willing to take every precaution with shortstop Zack Cozart, who is out with a strained left oblique muscle.

Drew Stubbs, who suffered an oblique strain in June, missed 20 days. As they near the stretch, the club hopes Cozart won't be out that long. But it won't rush him back, either.

"You have to be careful with that. It's in that minor pulled state right now," Reds manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. "But if we don't take care of that oblique, he could be out a month or six weeks, and then what? We won't have him at all for the playoffs, probably."

One added wrinkle is that all Reds Minor League affiliates' seasons are over, leaving no place for Cozart to go for a rehab assignment. Originally, the club thought he had a middle back injury, until an MRI taken on Friday confirmed the oblique injury.

"We have to treat this one very, very carefully, because it didn't start out like that," Baker said.