The Cincinnati Reds have officially placed first baseman Joey Votto on the 10-day injured list with a fractured thumb that he suffered on Wednesday after he was hit by a pitch by Dallas Keuchel during the game. He’s expected to miss at least a few weeks. Taking his place on the 26-man roster is outfielder Shogo Akiyama.
After playing two games with the Triple-A Louisville Bats, and several games before that with the alternate site team (which was essentially the current version of the Louisville Bats, but before the minor league season technically began on May 4th), Shogo Akiyama is back with the Reds. The outfielder suffered a hamstring injury in spring training and missed the final two weeks of spring training and then the first five weeks of the regular season.
While we don’t have precise stats on Akiyama when he was playing games on the alternate site team he went 1-9 in the two official minor league rehab games that he played this week in Louisville. His hamstring looked fully healthy as he legged out an infield single for his hit, and ran just fine while playing center field for the Bats.
The Reds haven’t announced yet what their plan will be to replace Joey Votto at first base while he is on the injured list. Shogo Akiyama could play into that in an indirect way. There are some scenarios that would open up a little more playing time in the outfield by bringing Nick Senzel (to second or third base), Jesse Winker (to first), or Nick Castellanos (to first) and see Akiyama and Tyler Naquin benefit from more available playing time as a direct result of that. With the team in Cleveland this weekend and capable of utilizing the designated hitter there will be plenty of at-bats to go around over the next few days. After that things may tighten up a little bit without the DH to work with.
One minute after this was published the Reds came out with their starting lineup for the game tonight. There’s a whole lot of movement on day one without Joey Votto.
Nick Senzel is starting at second base. Eugenio Suárez has moved back to third base. Mike Moustakas is playing first. And Kyle Farmer is starting at shortstop. Jonathan India, at least for today, is out of the lineup.
It’s just one day, and the team is playing with a designated hitter and that does allow different things to happen, so we’ll have to kind of wait and see how things shake out over the next week, but there could be a lot of things happening here.
If this is a scenario that kind of gives the Cincinnati Reds an easy way out of the move of Eugenio Suárez to shortstop that has been tough to watch, then it’s going to mean that when Joey Votto returns that Jonathan India is going to be out of the starting lineup because if Suárez is at third, then Moustakas is going back to second when Votto returns to take over at first. Senzel, of course, would then go back to center.
With all of that said, today is day one. Things can change, and they probably will a little bit, too. Stay tuned.