Yesterday Joey Votto joined the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park, but it wasn’t the return that anyone was hoping for. Votto, who had been on rehab assignment with the Triple-A Louisville Bats, had five days remaining before the team would have had to make a decision on whether to activate him or to bring him back from his rehab stint and keep him on the injured list. The decision was made early and Votto returned to Cincinnati.
In his time with Louisville, Votto had struggled. He went 7-38 with 21 strikeouts in 45 plate appearances. That was good for a .184/.289/.316 line. Over his final two games he had gone 3-6 with three walks, but he had really struggled prior to that.
The rules state that Joey Votto can get another 20 days on his next rehab assignment since he was called back from his previous one. But the rules also state that he can’t begin a new rehab assignment for at least five days. As of today there is no exact plan or timetable for when that could begin. Votto will remain in Cincinnati to continue working out with the team and trying to get back.
“Every day I’m moving faster, feeling stronger,” Joey Votto said. “Feeling like I’m getting healthier. I think I’m doing really, really well. It’s a bummer I’m not back in uniform. But if you were to ask me a month ago how do I expect to feel now I would say what I’m experiencing right now is pretty good.”
“My swing’s not there yet – some strength and range of motion stuff,” said Votto about what’s not at the optimal level right now. “This is totally normal. Again, I feel so much better. I think I’m doing great relative to being in spring a month ago, three months ago. I think I’m doing excellent. It was ambitious to attempt to make opening day. It was ambitious to attempt to get back. I didn’t perform well in Louisville. That was entirely a by product – I was missing middle pitches – and that was entirely because of my arm. The difference between the beginning of my rehab and the last day I was there was night and day. I’m very happy about the progress.”
“I’m not ready yet,” Votto said about why he is back off of his rehab assignment. “I just didn’t feel ready yet.”
“I’m going to get healthy and come back and play well. I’m very confident of that. I’d be surprised if I didn’t play well. I’d be surprised if I can get to full health and didn’t play well. I know it’s in me.”
The question is whether Votto is fooling himself. Coming back has clearly been harder than he expected. When your body no longer responds as your self-image says it should, it sucks, as I and I suspect many others here can attest. Mentally getting to the point of recognizing that and accepting it is a whole different ballgame. Good luck Joey, but start thinking about the next phase of your life. That time is near.
Sadly, I was thinking the same thing. I’m hoping we get to see vintage Votto again before he hangs it up but father time is undefeated.
Personally I’ll take Votto”s word for it. To try to out think Joey Votto is not wise in my view. We’ll see.
I still believe he will get there and it is a real credit to him that he is not just taking up a roster spot right now. He wants to come back and be good at his job.
Great interview with Votto. He knows what he is doing and being cautious.
I as well take Votto word for it
The reds mngt better be decideing who will be takeing joeys place. Joey stays banged up more than reds player i ve know(other than maybe jr) the end is prob near for him? Body and age eventually give in to the inevitable. Hate to see this go down like this. Ive been reds fan since 1970. Ive been glad to see him play in person and the tube.
How strong the repaired should actually is only Joey and his physical therapist know for sure.
I think the interview reveals that his shoulder was really weak with less range of motion in Spring Training, and he knew he actually wasn’t close to being ready.
He was generally NOT hitting in AAA ball (rehab), so they called it off.
He may do BP and hitting at GABP, and work with his physical therapist more to improve strength and range of motion. Then maybe go back to Louisville for some more rehab starts.
If I were to make a guess, he might be back with the Reds by maybe early June, but more likely, mid-June. As Doug has explained, he has another 20 day clock started when he returns to Louisville. So I would guess, at the minimum, he goes back around mid-May, and likely later.
I’d guess that in his last two rehab appearances when he seemed to be turning things around, JV drove himself beyond comfort to do what it took to accomplish better results and knew he had nothing left at this point to kick him up the notches required for every day at MLB.
Only time will tell him and us if he can ever get back to that level and be comfortable enough to play regularly to his personal standard.
He’s saying all the right things, but who knows? He may not get the farewell tour, and that’s ok. He will be an amazing announcer/analyst. Thank you for the memories, JV.
This all comes down to three things – he won’t join the team until he’s strong and ready to contribute at a high level, he’s not there yet, but he’s getting stronger and feeling steadily better. There’s no one who can know how he’s feeling and what’s influencing his performance (good or poor) better than Votto himself, and I trust that his standards are high enough that he won’t join the team until he’s convinced that he can make a positive contribution. As hard as it is to be patient for that day, I’d much prefer that approach than for him to play now and play poorly. I can wait for productive Votto, even if that’s still a month or more away.
Maybe he’ll be back for the playoff push, along with Antone.