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.

19 Responses

  1. Woodrow Thedaug

    Always feel bad for any player sent down, but the timing of Heineman being optioned just feels like good roster decision making.

    He and Cuthbert are break glass in emergency depth, let’s see what else we have in the next week.

  2. MK

    The Heineman cut is good news for Aquino as I believe they were vying for the same spot.

  3. Rednat

    didn’t Joey have Covid last year as well? or am I thinking of someone else?

      • MBS

        and Davidson had a positive test, but then it turned out he didn’t actually have it.

    • Brock

      He didn’t. Senzel had Covid for a while and was out for over a month. And I think either Winker or Moose contracted it, but not Joey.

    • Brock

      Yep that’s correct. I think it was just a game or two

  4. Roger Garrett

    I wasn’t surprised by Heineman.He had a really good spring but I don’t think he was going to be considered regardless of how he performed.At the start of spring we had 4 outfielders and the only question was do the Reds go with 4 or 5 on opening day.Aquino was that number 5 guy especially if he had no options but Payton and Heineman have messed up everything.They both should make it if we go with 5 and one could argue Heineman should be the 4th outfielder,I like the stolen bases,but it obviously won’t happen.Performance should count but does the player have options appears to count more.

  5. Jimbo44CN

    Two things. Aquino deserves a shot, if he does not do well, there are other options, including Heineman.
    Secondly am so glad to hear that Joey is doing well. Having known quite a few people that had this terrible virus, am just glad he is feeling well and able to come back to camp.

    • IndyRedsFan

      I want to see Aquino playing every day in L’ville, until there’s an opportunity to play everyday in Cincy. Sitting on the bench in Cincy is not going to make him the player we hope him to be.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Aquino is a better outfielder than either Castellanos and Winker. Where do you get that he can’t field, one fly ball lost in the sun? Come on. Happens to everyone out there.

  6. Shawn

    I would like Payton to get the 4th OF spot.

    • Tomn

      I would prefer Payton too. All he has done is hit and hit. Aquino is boom or bust. Mostly bust.

      • Tom wilson

        Aquino can’t field but can jack however is holes offensively appear to be known already. Payton is unbelievable, 101 consecutive games reached base at Texas in NCAA,a record. 998 defense and 30 Jack’s with 330 plus Ave in AAA. The man plays hard and never injured a rare combo with 1 dL for 10 days in minors because of a thrown bat. Payton deserves and has earned a real chance and Cincy will love him. Go Red’s!

    • JayTheRed

      I like Payton too.
      He brings a little speed, decent defense and like it was mentioned can hit pretty well too.

  7. Doc

    Is Garcia likely assigned to AAA so he can continue to work out until minor league camps start? It would seem odd to me, especially given his 2020 results and 2021 ST results, offensively speaking, to jump him from Class A to Class AAA. I would think it better to start him much lower, where perhaps he can over-match pitching, then move him up based on success. Starting at the top, then moving down to lower levels if you can’t handle hitting, seems to be a poor progression formula. I guess we learn more once minor league camps open and we see where he actually gets assigned. This could just be an assignment of convenience in this unusual ST.

    • Doug Gray

      Just because a player was optioned to Triple-A does not necessarily mean that is where they will be when the season begins. Right now this is just an assignment made for book keeping purposes. That said, Garcia was in High-A in 2019. In 2020 he was at the alternate site and in MLB. That’s far higher than Double-A caliber competition he was facing, so the jump to Triple-A isn’t a wild step.

      • Doc

        Except that he didn’t hit worth squat at the MLB level in 2020 or in ST. We don’t know what he did at the alternate site.

  8. Doc

    Might add that in the early weeks of ST he was not facing a full diet of MLB pitchers. Many who get to pitch early are destined for AAA but he didn’t hit them well.