The biggest news of the day is that Joey Votto has returned to Cincinnati Reds camp. The first baseman had been on the injured list after testing positive for COVID-19 March 10th. He had been out to a quick start in the spring, going 4-9 with a double and a walk in his first four games played before missing the last two weeks (he lasted played on March 7th).
You never know how one will react as they recover from COVID-19. Some people never feel any symptoms at all, while others fare far worse. The good news here seems to be that Joey Votto has returned rather quickly, signaling that he is feeling better. With only a week remaining in spring training, the ramp up time for Votto to be ready for Opening Day is very short. It’s possible that he may not be ready to begin the season when it starts, but there has been no official word on that as of yet.
Mark Sheldon on Reds.com had an important note after the official announcement that while Joey Votto is back in camp that he is still on the injured list. He is eligible to play in spring training games while on the injured list.
That’s useful because it would allow the team to activate Joey Votto after Opening Day whenever he is ready, if he weren’t ready for Opening Day, without having to wait until 10 days into the season. If he were activated today, for example, then wasn’t ready for the regular season to begin, he would have to be placed onto the 10-day injured list and sit out for at least 10 days. This allows the team, and Votto, some wiggle room in case the situation arises where he needs a little bit of additional time seeing live pitching before he is ready to step onto the big league field in the regular season.
Reds move six to the minors in cuts
Cincinnati announced six roster moves prior to the game on Sunday afternoon. The team optioned right-handed pitchers Héctor Pérez and Art Warren, catcher Deivy Grullón, infielder Jose Garcia, and outfielder Scott Heineman to Triple-A Louisville. Non-roster invitee Cheslor Cuthbert was also reassigned to minor league camp.
Deivy Grullón has the second highest OPS on the team this spring, but the catcher has also only had 11 at-bats. He’s homered twice among his three hits, and drawn a walk. With Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Stephenson both healthy and ready to go, this is no surprise.
Jose Garcia didn’t get much playing time this spring at shortstop as the team was clearly trying to get looks at Kyle Farmer and Dee Strange-Gordon in the early parts of March before deciding to look at Eugenio Suárez at the position. When Garcia did play, he didn’t hit. Literally. He’s 0-14 this spring. He wasn’t expected to land the job when camp began, so he’ll head to the minors and continue his development.
The move that is a bit of a surprise is Scott Heineman being optioned. The outfielder is hitting .323/.432/.516 with five stolen bases this spring. He has struck out in 11 of his 31 at-bats, but he’s gotten things done at the plate, too. He had been in the running for the 4th/5th outfielder spot, but it seems that at least for now he’s going to be in the minors.
Héctor Pérez has racked up 13 strikeouts in 7.0 innings this spring. But he’s also allowed 10 hits and walked seven batters, leading to an ERA of 10.29. Art Warren has also picked up plenty of strikeouts, fanning nine in his 7.0 innings of work, but he’s also struggled with the strikezone as he’s walked five batters in that time to go along with a 6.43 ERA. Neither move should come as much of a surprise given that both players had options available and neither has had standout performances.