The Cincinnati Reds have called Joey Votto back from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. Votto will not be activated and instead will continue to rehab in Cincinnati with the club. That’s not good news because Votto had been running out of time he was allowed to be on rehab assignment. He had struggled, but had begun to start hitting better over the last few days. With Votto being recalled from his assignment if he does need to go back on a rehab assignment he will get to reset his “clock” for rehab assignment and will get an additional 20 days if needed.

Coming back from rotator cuff repair as well as biceps muscle repair from last August, Votto was behind when spring training began, but began playing games in the middle of March. He wasn’t ready when the regular season began and headed off to join Triple-A Louisville when the season began.

The first pitch that Votto saw on his rehab assignment went 448 feet and gave off a feeling that the first baseman was probably close to getting back to Cincinnati. But it turns out that having your rotator cuff and biceps muscle repair by surgery doesn’t make swinging a baseball bat easy. After that home run, Votto went 3-32 with three walks and 20 strikeouts. It was about as bad of a stretch as anyone can imagine Joey Votto’s gone through in a long, long time – if ever.

On Wednesday night in Toledo, Votto went 1-1 with three walks. He didn’t play on Thursday, but returned tot he lineup on Friday night and he picked up two more hits – including a double. All four of the balls he put in play were over 90 MPH. So was his single on Wednesday.

The recent trending upward wasn’t enough for Votto or the Reds and they’ve decided that he was going to need more time before the rehab assignment was going to be up.

Luke Weaver may be ready

Things didn’t go well for Connor Overton last night in Cincinnati. The Phillies crushed him for five runs on five hits, three walks, and a home run without striking out in three innings before he exited the game. Through three starts Overton’s ERA is 11.45. That is an improvement on his ERA of 15.43 that he had in spring training…. but it’s something that can’t continue if the Reds want to even pretend to be taken seriously.

Fortunately for them it appears that Luke Weaver is ready to step into the rotation. Weaver began the year on the injured list after having some forearm tightness in the middle of March that set him back a few weeks. But he’s now made two rehab starts with Louisville, including one last night in Toledo where he threw 5.0 innings. He threw 79 pitches with 57 strikes, giving up just three hits, two walks, and picking up five strikeouts.

37 Responses

  1. AMDG

    Even if he is not 100%, I’m pretty confident the Reds will bring Votto up in the next few days, and bat him 3rd or 4th in every game he plays.

    Hopefully he is an upgrade over Vosler (1 for his last 24 with 11 K’s).

    • James N. Walker Jr

      Vosler is doing at MLB what Votto just got done doing at Louisville until his last 2 games.

      Let Joey burn down some more of his rehab time to make sure he is as “ready” as he is going to be.

      • Jim Walker

        Charlie Chihuahua insists in stealing the show for himself sometimes 😉

      • Old-school

        Jim??? Is that you? Lol

        But practically speaking where does Votto go after thursday? What options are there other than playing first base with the Reds. Anything other would be huge news across baseball and in this city

        The headline would be Votto suffers a setback. If hes not ready, they jumped the gun by starting the clock April 1

      • Jim Walker

        It is me. I fat fingered the wrong email address from a popup list; and, the world got my full name and Charlie instead of what it usually gets here.

        I recall using the picture of Charlie as my avatar here on RLN when I was known as OhioJim here. However when I started writing previews, one of the requirements was to use my real name. Thus the name and avatar you usually see for me. But how the other email got linked to the Charlie picture on here is one of those great computer mysteries. ‘-)

      • Jim Walker

        OS> About Votto>> We will have to see what happens over time. Votto can remain on IL but not do official rehab in minor league games unless he returns to official rehab status. I guess if he wants to see live pitching, such as it is, he could go to extended spring training out in Arizona.

        However, since the official announcement said Votto would continue his rehab in Cincinnati, that almost suggests he is going to be doing rehab that does not involve direct baseball activities.

        We have to be open to the fact that he may have suffered a physical setback late in Wednesday’s game which he was removed from in a defensive substitution after being on base 4 times. Despite being back on Friday and having arguably his best offensive game of the rehab stint, he must not have felt right and headed to Cincy to decide what the next step was.

        If he does have a physical issue, it is not necessarily with his shoulder. Look no further than Tony Santillan was also called in from rehab this week. He was on the IL for a back issue when a knee problem kicked up and led to him being called in from rehab.

        I guess we will all be holding our collective breath until there is further news.

      • Melvin

        So am I understanding this correctly? He has 20 days of possible rehab in Louisville. He hasn’t used that up yet. He’s taking a break and rehabbing in Cincinnati for awhile. After that he can go finish his 20 days in Louisville?

      • Doug Gray

        Unless I’m misunderstanding of the rules, IF Votto goes back on a rehab assignment he will get a brand new 20-day “window” to work with.

      • Melvin

        Okay Doug. That’s interesting. Thanks.

  2. Rednat

    I’m rooting for Joey to come back. Just having he and Senzel in the lineup would be a spiritual lift for the fan base. They both have overcome so much

    • SteveAreno

      Most of the fanbase should be uplifted more if the player producing the best is getting the playing time.

  3. Kevin H

    Rooting for Votto. Having a veteran presence is always nice. I think he and Myers can have great impacts on the younger guys

  4. David

    Perhaps it just took this long for the scar tissue from the shoulder repair to break loose, Joey building up his shoulder strength and then getting his timing down.
    This was, after all, pretty serious surgery for a pro-athlete.

    Maybe. I hope he can play a few more days in AAA and he shows he is ready.
    I hope.
    If all of he above is a true understanding of Joey’s rehab, then actually he should get STRONGER in hitting as the weeks pass. Wouldn’t that be something?

    Vosler started the season in such a promising way, but now he is in the dumps.
    Next week will tell the story.

    • wallyum

      If nothing else, Vosler has made the decision as to who goes down when Joey comes back a lot easier of late.

  5. Optimist

    We’re about to begin the march thru the 5th starters, and perhaps the 4th starters as well. Overton may get 1 more, but then they’ll begin the parade. Weaver will certainly get several (8-10) starts unless he collapses completely. I wonder if Stoudt becomes the up-and-down callup from the Bats – I expect they’ll want to keep Williamson on a schedule with the Bats. Of course, it could become Abbott’s chance as well.

  6. MBS

    Not only Weaver, but Anderson could be getting a call up soon. Anderson has 2 80+ outings at 5 innings each. It would be nice to see him go 6+ today, in case Cessa doesn’t bounce back.

  7. LDS

    I think he needs more IL time. Maybe he’ll ready but I doubt it. Veteran presence, seriously? Neither Votto nor Myers are known for their on-field leadership. And if neither are hitting, then it’s not leadership, it’s privilege. In all honesty, the team leadership has to emerge from the younger guys if this team is to thrive in the future. I think India has shown some effort in that regard.

    • Kevin H

      Yes veteran presence. One can be a leader and not hit. It’s the little things that we don’t know about.

      • LDS

        Votto has never been heralded for his leadership. His performance in year’s past has been stellar but I can’t remember him ever being touted as a leader of the team. In fact, an article in the last week or so pointed out that he rarely comments on teammates, positively or negatively. Sometimes what many call “veteran presence” is just “gunk” clogging up the mechanism.

      • CI3J

        Votto is not really a rah-rah type leader like Rolen was, he’s more someone who leads by example.

        He strikes me as someone who is happy to answer questions and let others pick his brain, but he’s not someone who stands up in the locker room and gives a “Win one for the Gipper!” type speech.

      • LDS

        @CI3J, that’s how I’ve always read it.

      • David

        He bought a donkey for Zack Cozart. I think that’s leadership.

        And he did an interview once in a Mountie uniform.

        It’s like I don’t know you people.

      • Tar Heel Red

        Judging from what some of his ex-teammates have shared, Votto is not well liked among his brethren. Brandon Phillips, Scooter Gennett and Nick Castellanos have all said (or at least hinted) that Votto is not a team player and only concerned with Joey Votto. Gennett in particular was not enamored of him. I’ve been to many games where Votto and he would scream at each other while on the field during a game. Of course with the crowd noise you could not make out what was being said, but the was clearly some kind of discord between the two.

  8. Old-school

    Overton to the 15 day IL
    Legumina gets a cup of coffee in the bullpen
    Luke Weaver is with team, ostensibly to be activated Wednesday

    No Newman in the lineup today against a lefty- he took the hbp thursday.

    • Jim Walker

      Four games for somebody besides the new guy to punch a ticket to Louisville??? 😉

      I’m thinking it could be whoever is optionable (except Diaz) that has been used enough to be unavailable Thursday.

  9. Melvin

    Always rooting for Votto. When he says he’s ready I’ll take his word for it. I’m not sure his stats in AAA mean as much as some think. Votto has unusual ways of getting himself ready for the season. Looking forward to seeing Weaver instead of Overton.

  10. Beaufort Red

    If Votto is realistic about hanging it up if he can’t contribute ( and I don’t mean as a cheerleader) we won’t see him finish the season. Unfortunately noone can beat Father Time. Everyone wants the future to play so now is the time. The more these young bucks win together, the more it bodes well for the future. I know Votto is an all time favorite but unfortunately the Reds have a bad habit of being sentimental to a fault.

  11. Eddiek957

    I don’t believe Joey would have played in Louisville if he didn’t think he would playing for the reds this year. For the entire offseason I thought he would open up on the sixty day IL. Shoulder surgeries suck Ludwig Suarez now Joey

  12. Hanawi

    I was always under the impression that Votto wouldn’t be back until mid-season this year and was frankly shocked that he even showed up to spring training. I’m hoping we can see a couple of months of vintage Joey before he hangs them up.

    • Harry Stoner

      Of course.

      Yet Votto shows up in Arizona because he’s a Red.

      His presence in the camp is invaluable.

      Sure he’s a ways off.

      He knows that, the Reds know that.


      It doesn’t sound like that Bell was that much in touch with JV in the spring.

      He’s likely way far from a reasonable return from the kind of surgery he had.

      But Votto is savvy enough to know what his presence with the club is worth.

      RLN quibblers and bean counters might get their knickers all twisted up.

      Give Votto whatever time space and $$ he needs.

      He’s more than proven to be worth the gamble.

      When it’s over, it’s over.

      RLN fans can go back to pounding their chests about the “Rolen Years”.

  13. jon

    What happens with the remaining 2 years of his salary if he retires? 25M and 2024 10m buyout?

    • Jim Walker

      I am not a contract lawyer but, my guess is if Votto never makes it back to the active list, his retirement has to go into the books as a medically forced retirement; and, gets every guaranteed cent of the contract. That is his 2023 salary for sure and very likely also the buyout on the 2024 option.

      • lost11found

        on the big contracts it seems standard too that an ‘insurance’ policy kicks in for the team if its a medically related retirement. but perhaps not in baseball?

        One of those details that rarely arises.

      • Jim Walker

        re: contract insurance>>> Contract insurance has become somewhat rare. Its cost had risen and the terms for payment by insurance had tightened to the point many teams felt setting aside the premium costs to earn income was a better hedge against the risks than paying premiums.

        This said I have no knowledge of whether any, all, or none of the remaining money on Votto’s contract is covered by insurance.

        The fact they have backed away from activating him might well be a sign that is it; and, they don’t want to lose a potential payout when the level of his recovery remains uncertain,

    • Jim Walker

      And the 2024 buyout is $7m, not $10m

  14. Kevin H

    On Votto being a team player or not. I have not heard, or read that he isn’t a team player or that he isn’t a leader. He learned Spanish to be able to make teammates feel welcome. So he doesn’t show it on field. Doesn’t mean he isn’t. The players mentioned who suggested “Votto is only worried about Votto” well I take that with a grain of salt. The games I went too I never seen Votto scream or yell at a teammate on the field.

    I can think of a few former Reds who were for themselves and Votto doesn’t come to my mind