CINCINNATI -- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart on Wednesday took major strides toward a return, swinging, fielding and running for the first time since last Tuesday, when he was left out of the Reds' lineup with a stiff back.
This past weekend, Cozart's injury was diagnosed as a left oblique strain. The rookie hasn't played since Sept. 3, but he hit off the tee, fielded ground balls, ran and stretched and said he felt "pretty good."
"It was nothing major, I just hit off the tee. There are still steps to be made, but it was a positive day," Cozart said. "Everything is feeling a lot better. We did a lot of stuff today, knowing we had the off-day [Thursday] for recovery."
Wilson Valdez and Didi Gregorius have filled in at short in Cozart's absence.
Cozart has played in 127 games this season and earned Rookie of the Year consideration with his work both in the field and at the plate. He said there is no timetable on his return and plans to assess how he feels Friday, when the team travels to Miami.
"It's been progress pretty much every day," he said. "I couldn't do a jog three days ago, and today I ran. I no doubt about it feel a lot better than I did a week ago and a lot better than I did two days ago.
"I can't really put a day on it, but hopefully sooner than later. Based on today, I would think sooner ... barring no setbacks, but I don't see that happening. It's night and day compared to a week ago."