Ludwick hurt the shoulder Monday in the Reds' season opener against the Los Angeles Angels when he dove head-first into third base. A subsequent magnetic imaging exam revealed the need for surgery.
The 34-year-old, who had been tabbed as Cincinnati's clean-up hitter this season, will go under the knife Wednesday, the team said.
The injury comes after Ludwick signed a two-year contract during the offseason. He batted .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBI over 125 games last season, and was a key in the Reds' run to the National League Central title.
He was expected to be officially placed on the disabled list prior to Wednesday's game with the Angels.