Joey Votto went 0-7 in a Louisville Bats doubleheader on Friday night. On Saturday there was a late change on the lineup card. Votto was originally slated to leadoff and be the designated hitter but he was instead moved to first base. It was his first game in the field since breaking his thumb when he was hit by a pitch by Chicago White Sox left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel a month ago. Votto had stated when he joined the Reds radio booth that hitting wasn’t bothering him but catching the ball was still something that wasn’t there yet without pain. Having him in the field was a big step towards his return.

That wasn’t the story on the night in Louisville, though. The story was what Joey Votto was doing at the plate. His first plate appearance of the night got out to a poor start as the young rookie forgot that he needed to wear a helmet to the plate….. but he made up for it by tripling off of the center field wall in the 1st.

That wasn’t all for Votto, though. He came up in the bottom of the 2nd inning and crushed another ball off of the wall. This one was hit the other way and off of the left field wall. In the 4th inning he would single up the middle on a line drive and drive in a run. In his final at-bat of the day the Reds rehabbing first baseman grounded out up the middle. He finished the night 3-4 with a double, triple, RBI, and he scored two runs. He was replaced in the field in the top of the 7th inning.

Aristides Aquino was also rehabbing in Louisville on Saturday night. He played on Thursday, but then didn’t play in either game of the Friday doubleheader. Aquino went 1-4 with an RBI. He got the start in right field and is now 2-6 with two walks and no strikeouts.

23 Responses

  1. Klugo

    Very curious where they’ll bat Votto when he gets back.

  2. CFD3000

    Nice breakout for Votto. Sounds like he hit the ball very hard three time, including a triple off the wall on an 0-2 count off a lefty. Nice. Maybe the first game back in the field energized him at the plate. The Reds will need him at leadoff. Or hitting third. Or fifth. Or… wherever they bat him. Hopefully back this week!

    Now about Moose. And Aquino. And Lorenzen…

    • Jason Figg

      I was at the game last night and the stadium was electric with Votto crushing the ball.

  3. Rednat

    Doug, I will say your recent articles and posts have really been giving me a good laugh. Will the reds hitters get suspended for getting in the way of the Cardinals pitches? No the world is not coming to an end because Ty Stephenson didn’t get the start today. Now Joey forgetting the helmet!

    i have been under the weather recently and these have been great pick me ups. thank you!

    • DaveCT

      Classic Doug.

      Just at an All-Star level.

  4. Indy Red Man

    Joey seems to be swinging it better this year or atleast at gabp (.861 ops). He’s rediscovered that gabp left-center stroke. The issue is what do they do moving forward? How is Stephenson going to develop with Votto/Tucker in the way? Trade Tucker in the offseason maybe? Tough decisions.

    As far as this year goes……can’t wait til get Lorenzen and Aquino get back. Lorenzen can help in many different ways. Friday night St. Louis got 3 in the 9th partly because Winker couldn’t haul in a catchable ball. If they had Lorenzen in CF and Shogo in LF then they save 3 runs right there.

    • VegasRed

      But then Winker isn’t still in the game to hit the game winning homer in the 9th! But I agree, reds need Votto and moose back in the lineup.

      I also hope they can hang on to Acquino one more year as Winker can then DH and Aquino can replace Casty who will be off to greener pastures….

  5. Old-school

    Great to see Joey Votto healthy and smoking baseballs against lefties to CF in a rehab appearance.

    That said I couldn’t help but note the St Paul Saints employing a shift against Joey Votto? Why? It’s a meaningless developmental game between the Twins AAA team and the Reds AAA team with Votto rehabbing? If the game has “evolved” to where strategy is no longer and masquerades as the thoughtless shift based on handedness without a definition of a 2b or SS or 3b- then its time for MLB to enforce player positioning rules. Was Barry Larkin a Shortstop or a rover? Was Joe Morgan a short right fielder or a second baseman? Was Mike Schmidt a third baseman or a left side of the infield guy usually?

    MLB needs to step in- as they are with doctoring baseballs- and mandate that 2 players are always in the infield on either side of 2b. I dont care if they are in the dirt or not. If the 2b wants to play deep in short RF -that’s ok- as long as there is no relief from the SS on the right side of 2b. If the 3b or SS want to play deep or shallow or off the bag- that s fine too as long as the 2b is on his side of 2b. Changing the definition of infielders has gone too far and has materially changed the game of baseball and the infield alignment against Joey Votto in a developmental game is sad.

    • Droslovinia

      Or, as an alternative, maybe teams can teach people how to hit. The only reason we hear so much whining about the shift these days is that players want to pull everything. Try that against real hitters from days past and we’d be seeing averages in the .450’s!

      • Klugo

        Yes! Long Live the Shift!
        Adapt or die!

      • Doug Gray

        Baseball Prospectus has an article up this weekend that explains that the idea of “adjusting” isn’t really a thing players can do at this point unless the adjustment is to learn how to hit literal bloop pops ups 175 feet. It’s not just the shift. It’s positioning.

        Don’t have a BP subscription? Here’s a tweet thread that touches on some of the information from the BP Editor in Chief:

        Also, hitters from “days past” would poop their pants facing pitchers today. Guys are throwing sliders harder today than the average fastball in 1985.

      • Old-school

        I think we all would like more action, more athleticism, more strategy.

        Baseball pays players to hit homers. Singles in 2021 are an all time low. Batting avg is too and K’s all time high. No offense to Kyle Schwarber but who wants to watch a guy strike out 200x, hit 30 home runs , bat .220 and play station to station baseball and be bad defensively

        The shift has unintended consequences in that it allows teams to stock their roster with more 3 outcome guys. Enforcing positioning rules would force mlb to develop complete players again. Second baseman with no range or speed or arm would no longer be protected by a rover.

        Defense and range and athleticism would be more valued at SS/3b

        The game needs more action.

      • Chris

        Doug and Old-School are spot on. I’m always amazed when I hear people say that players need to adapt to the switch. I wonder how many of those people have played any level of higher baseball? Guys are lucky to put the bat on the ball in today’s game. The switch is literally destroying the game of baseball today, more so than anything else. You would think the union along with MLB would be in agreement to end this nonsense, and do exactly what Old-School suggested. I’d take it further though, and make infielders stay on the dirt. Only time a switch would be allowed would be in the 9th inning with runners on forcing a need for 5 infielders which is not so common.

    • Paul

      First let me say I am a big votto fan! But let’s be real as good as he’s been if he can’t hit to all fields then it is his own fault that teams do the shift. They shouldn’t change the rules to help a few players out over the majority who do hit to all fields.

      • Chris

        So you want Votto and others to try and hit a ground ball to the left side? Really? Votto tries to hit the ball hard to all fields, and always has, but nobody should ever be trying to hit ground balls to the left side. That is just plain silly, and not what any fan would want to watch for.

  6. greenmtred

    Noteworthy to me–and I can’t believe that you guys all missed it–was that “Joey” hit a triple! That, and the guy masquerading as Joey forgetting his batting helmet, makes me nearly certain that it wasn’t Joey at all. The real Joey, I believe, is currently at the Canadian Police Academy training to be a Mountie.

    • Doug Gray

      This is a fantastic and fun conspiracy theory and I am here for it.

  7. LDS

    Votto back, Stephenson sits, despite Stephenson leading in most statistical categories, including BA, OBP, OPS, WAR, etc. Votto leads in legacy & legend. Moose comes back, India sits, again leading in the same statistical categories. But Suarez, who leads virtually nothing, except GP and PAs, continues to start every day. Hardly seems like the Reds are trying to field their best team. One cannot argue analytics, perhaps contract costs? And when Senzel comes back who knows. And Aquino, will he even be back given that’s he’s sat the last 2 of the last 4 games of his rehab.

    • Doug Gray

      Right now it seems you are arguing with yourself because Votto isn’t back. Neither is Moustakas. But you have already decided that you know exactly what will happen and already upset about it. What happens if they come back and Suarez goes back to shortstop and Stephenson starts 4 times a week behind the plate and gets another start at first base in the week?

      As for Aquino, sure – he sat two games. They were on the same day. Don’t really know why he didn’t play that day, but he didn’t. It’s not a big deal. He’s not eligible to be activated for another week. He’s going to be in Louisville for a bit. They couldn’t rush him back even if they wanted to.

      • LDS

        I base my comments on the Reds history to date, nothing more. And you’re right I won’t really be happy with the Reds until they make some major changes – ownership, FO, and field mgmt. I’ve worked for companies that operated the same way. As long as the “big guys” got theirs , results didn’t matter all that much. Those were short stints for me. Institutionalizing mediocrity irritates me. Three winning seasons (’10,’12,’13) in the last two decades is pretty much mediocre. And no I don’t count last year as a winning season. And the “small market” myth isn’t a convincing argument.

      • Doug Gray

        Be mad when things actually happen, not beforehand. It’s a waste of energy. It puts you in a bad mood for absolutely no reason at all. No one needs that. Life is better when we’re happy.