The Cincinnati Reds have activated Joey Votto from the injured list. He will be joining the team in Toronto as the two teams play a 3-game series this weekend. Those who won’t be participating are Tyler Mahle, Brandon Drury, Joel Kuhnel, and Albert Almora. They were all placed on the restricted list. Athletes no longer have an exemption to enter Canada while being unvaccinated, so make your own assumptions about why those four players are on the restricted list and not on the team. Left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler will also not be with the team as he was placed on the bereavement list.
With the roster in shambles, the Reds called up from Triple-A Louisville as substitute players Graham Ashcraft, Taylor Motter, and Aristides Aquino.
Joey Votto last played on May 1st. He went on the COVID injury list after and then missed nearly two weeks before he went on a rehab assignment. He spent May 14th and 15th in Triple-A Louisville. When the Bats went on the road for their next series, Votto resumed his assignment with the High-A Dayton Dragons. In his four games he went 2-11 with an RBI, four walks, and five strikeouts.
If and when Graham Ashcraft enters a game it will be his big league debut. A starter in the minors, Ashcraft will be in the Reds bullpen for this series as Luis Castillo, Hunter Greene, and Connor Overton are set to start against the Blue Jays. In Triple-A this season, Ashcraft has posted a 1.65 ERA and he leads all of minor league baseball with a 71.2% ground ball rate this year. For context, the big league ground ball rate this season is 43.1%.
Since heading back to Triple-A, Aristides Aquino has torn the cover off of the ball. In 10 games he’s hit .314/.405/.743 with three doubles and four home runs. He’s also struck out 15 times with four walks in 42 plate appearances.
Taylor Motter signed a minor league deal with the Reds after the season begun. He’s only played in 15 games with Louisville this season, but he’s doubled twice and already hit five home runs. Overall he’s hitting .245/.344/.566. Over the last two seasons he’s played everywhere on the field except pitcher, catcher, and center.