Ludwick says shoulder problems are in past

Reds outfielder displays impressive power stroke in Tuesday's loss to KC

Ludwick says shoulder problems are in past

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Upon exiting Tuesday's game vs. the Royals after five innings, Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick got ice for his left throwing shoulder like he usually does. His surgically-repaired right shoulder was not packed with even a single ice cube.

"I haven't iced it all spring. That's how good it feels," Ludwick said. "I haven't been in the training room, except for stretching it. I feel great. It's not aching. Let's knock on wood to keep it that way."

Ludwick tore the labrum in his right shoulder on Opening Day vs. the Angels last season and missed four months to rehab from surgery.

In the first inning on Tuesday came the evidence that Ludwick's shoulder is better. With two outs, he slugged a 2-1 pitch from Royals starter Danny Duffy for a two-run home run to left field that carried well over the bullpen and on to the berm of grass behind it. It was Ludwick's first homer of Spring Training.

"I hit it real good. It was on the line," said Ludwick, who is 3-for-10 (.300) in four games this spring. "It got out of here quickly. ... It was pretty loud, too."

"He ain't lying," interjected teammate Todd Frazier, sitting one locker over.

When a reporter noted that Ludwick had said he may not have had his power back after he returned from the disabled list in August, Ludwick interrupted and showed some irritation.

"I never said 'may not.' I did not have my power. I hit two home runs in [129] at-bats," Ludwick said. "You guys don't know. You guys aren't professional athletes. You've never had shoulder surgery or rehabbed for four months. If you don't lift a weight, how are you going to have power? All you had to do was add two-plus-two, you know? I was able to lift this offseason. I'm strong right now. It's a completely different body. You guys make what you want of it. I feel like it's a broken record right now. We keep talking about it."

Ludwick, 35, said he was motivated by people who doubted that he could return and be a productive power hitter again. He hit 26 home runs with 80 RBIs during his first season with Cincinnati in 2012.

"I've seen a lot of stuff that 'he's getting older," Ludwick said. "'He's coming off the shoulder surgery. People who have shoulder surgeries late in their career don't tend to come back from them.' Fortunately for me, it's my non-throwing arm. I've been through five other major surgeries. It's not like I haven't been through it before."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.