The surgery, called a meniscectomy, removed the damaged part of his meniscus. Bruce had the surgery on Monday morning with team doctor Tim Kremchek and will begin his rehab immediately.
Bruce was scratched Saturday due to knee soreness, but there’s no indication that there was a trauma that created the need for surgery. It’s possible that Bruce has been playing through some soreness or that the meniscus damage had deteriorated from a previous incident. That is not uncommon, though in most cases, there’s a single traumatic event that caused the initial damage.
Bruce was also able to pinch hit on Sunday. While some have questioned his playing when the team must have known he was headed for surgery, there was just no downside, especially in an extra inning game. One day added to the 15-day DL isn’t going to matter given the normal rehab period.
While some reports, including this one from MLB.com, have used the word “repair,” that’s not technically correct. In a meniscectomy, the damaged portion of the meniscus is cut away and removed. In few cases, the entire meniscus is removed, though this is usually only in the most extreme cases.
There are actual repairs to the meniscus, where the surgeon goes in and reattaches the damaged portion of the meniscus. When possible, this has better long-term results and avoids the bone-on-bone issues that inevitably happen after meniscus removal. The downside is that it has a lower rate of success and has a significantly longer rehabilitation period—up to three months.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that things went as planned with Dr. Kremchek. “He said everything went well. It went as expected and the surgery was routine,” he said.
The Reds have some depth in the outfield and are expected to use Chris Heisey in Bruce’s RF spot. They also just got Skip Schumaker back off the disabled list after he missed the start of the season with a dislocated shoulder. The Reds’ best outfield prospect is Donald Lutz, who has been rehabbing at Pensacola to start the season. There are no great fantasy options here.
With Aroldis Chapman slated to come off the DL on Friday, the team doesn’t yet have a roster crunch. But with Bruce and Devin Mesoraco expected to be back around June 1, the team will have some tougher decisions to make at that point.
Bruce is not a speed player, but does have good range in the short right field in Cincinnati. With Billy Hamilton in center, the Reds can cover more ground than most, allowing Bruce to not need to range quite as much to the gaps. He will have some issues early on, so don’t expect much in the way of steals until later in the season.