Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is going to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with the Louisville Bats. Votto may have tipped his hat to the news earlier in the day on Instagram when he posted a photo of himself driving a bus with the caption “heading down to Louisville for a few stops”. Many took it as a sign that he was going to begin a rehab assignment today, but he was still in Cincinnati and at Great American Ball Park working out with the team at 2pm according to Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

This will be the second rehab assignment for Joey Votto this year. After having surgery last August to repair a torn rotator cuff and a torn biceps muscle, he attempted to return in time to begin the regular season. That plan didn’t quite work and he began the regular season in Triple-A on a 20-day rehab assignment with the Louisville Bats. That plan also didn’t quite go as hoped as Votto struggled as he simply wasn’t quite ready to do everything he needed to be able to do both in the field and in the batters box, and he and the team cut short that rehab assignment by a few days.

In the six weeks since then, Joey Votto has continued to work out and rehab in Cincinnati with the club. Things have been progressing in that time and it would appear that he and the team feel he’s ready to get back out there and see where things stand when it comes to playing in real games on a (mostly) daily basis. When the assignment officially begins Votto will have up to 20 days on rehab assignment before the team has to make a decision on whether to activate him with the big league club, or place him back on the injured list and look towards another point in the future to begin another rehab assignment.


22 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Good news for me. I’m betting on Votto. This team could use some pop anyway. A healthy Votto plus EDLC and CES and this team suddenly becomes potentially awesome offensively.

    • LDS

      @Melvin, you are one optimistic guy. I hope they keep Votto at DH against RH’ers and on the bench against LH’ers. Leave Steer at 1B. EDLC and CES wait a while. Recognize too that with veteran privilege, Votto could disrupt the team’s current play significantly. Depends on whether Bell is smart (want to bet your life savings on that condition) or whether JV starts at 1B every game and bats 4th.

      • Kevin H

        You bring a valid point about disruption in the club house if Votto doesn’t like being benched. Of course is this all speculation. Sounds like thoug LDS, he has been mentoring the young guys. So again time will tell.

        I would hope Votto at this point in career is okay with a bench role. I for one am looking forward to seeing Votto play

      • Melvin

        What can I say? 🙂 I’m a Votto fan and wishing for the best. It’s possible to work out for all of them.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Agree LDS! Always been a big fan of Votto but with the apparent momentum this team seems to have of late would hate to see a disruption, however slight, of the progress this team has made since opening day! Votto, as DH against RHP initially makes the most sense, to me at least!

      • Doc

        After their awful 2-11 start, Louisville has played 14 games over .500 in their last 40 games. It will be challenging to not disrupt that team chemistry. I hope they can use the rehab assignment to not only get Votto up to game speed but also to figure out how to work him into a fluid situation of talented players who are doing a good job. Looking at the offensive numbers of CES and Vosler, it will be a challenge for Votto to improve on them.

      • greenmtred

        Disruption of the momentum is certainly worth worrying about. Of course, an absence of Friedl for any length of time may well do the same. I’m a Votto fan, but agree with LDS: DH against righties, maybe occasional game at first when Steer needs a rest. The situation has changed now that the Reds are in contention. I don’t think they’re ready to go deep in the playoffs, but giving it the best shot they can would be good for the players, probably, and certainly good for the fans. Votto’s farewell tour should acknowledge this.

      • 2020ball

        disruption of momentum? what even is that?

        I guess I dont get it, if he hits he plays, same as everyone else. I’m sure the clubhouse loves him.

    • Kevin H

      Absolutely , I am a votti fan as well.

      A cool story, a friend of mine who’s from Canada knows the Votto’s high school coach and was told Votto would be in batting cages for hours when he was in high school.

      Votto is a good dude

  2. HoF-13

    I trust that Votto will wait until he can at least moderately contribute before he comes back. Given what Stephenson has been doing at DH, I’d definitely would use Votto instead against RH’s

  3. JayTheRed

    I am really torn about this. I have loved Votto throughout his career even in the bad times. The Reds now have so many infielders already who are producing so well. How much do you want to risk that to bring back a veteran that is at the last year or few years left to play. If he is killing it in his rehab I will be thrilled. I too worry about disruption possibilities and lowering younger players playing time too.

    Who knows maybe he can provide some needed pop in our lineup.

  4. CFD3000

    We’re measuring Votto the wrong way, twice.

    First, the recent Votto of 2022 was seriously injured. That guy shouldn’t DH against righties – he’s a left handed pinch hitter. But that guy is gone. If Votto is healthy – and at the very least we can expect he’ll be healthier than he was in 2021 – why wouldn’t you expect him to play as well or nearly as well as he did in 2021? That guy can play 1B or DH every day. Is he a little older? Of course. Will it take him a little while to get back to MLB speed? Probably. But I’m not betting against him being really productive.

    Second, I have zero concerns for him disrupting the team chemistry. Recent articles indicate that he has been closely involved with the team on an ongoing basis. Mentoring young hitters, talking about approach and preparation and understanding opposing pitchers, at the cage during BP, in the dugout during games, in the clubhouse after games. He has been a part of this team since he got back from the first rehab assignment, including traveling on some of the road trips. Guys get hurt or banged up and can’t play – Friedl most recently. Other guys get called up – McLain – and displace someone. And the team adapts and is playing well. I just don’t see a healthy, productive Votto detracting from the team’s chemistry.

    Bottom line, if Joey Votto is healthy and thinks he can contribute enough to warrant regular playing time, then he should play. He’s already shown once he won’t insist on playing time just to play if he’s not ready.

    This is really good news for the Reds. And it will also be really good news when EDLC, CES, and Andrew Abbott get called up to upgrade the roster. Can’t wait for all of those moves. Go Reds!

    • greenmtred

      Fair points. Maybe “displacement” is a better word than “disruption.” I don’t believe that he will cause discord, but, depending upon his playing time and where he plays, he will have some effect on other guys’ playing time. He’s a legend, and it might not end up being a big deal, especially if he hits well.

    • CI3J

      why wouldn’t you expect him to play as well or nearly as well as he did in 2021?

      Because Votto is well past his prime, and 2 years in sports for an aging player is a massive difference. We already saw Votto was just barely keeping it together, and he can no longer turn around on elite fastballs like he used to. His reflexes and power have both begun to fade.

      Joey Votto is about to be 40 years old. It’s very, VERY rare for 40-year old MLB players to be effective players. Perhaps Votto can do it. But don’t be surprised if it turns out 2021 was his final hurrah and he has well and truly fallen of the cliff since then.

      Declines, when they happen in sports, can sometimes be gradual, or can sometimes happen seemingly overnight. We don’t know which Votto will be, but it is almost guaranteed he has declined further since 2021. We’ll just have to see what he has left.

      That’s just the reality of aging. As the old quip goes, Father Time is undefeated.

      • Earmbrister

        Likewise, I also agree with CDF3000. No one works harder than Votto, and the shoulder thing had apparently been bothering him for a few seasons. Betting against Joey V is a risky proposition.

    • BigBill

      The problem is that Votto has been pretty below average for 3 out of the last 4 years. Love the guy and respect the heck out of his career but other than 2020 he is not the Votto we all know. Steer has been a refreshing change and most likely CES is the better alternative than Votto in the short and long term as far as winning games.

    • CFD3000

      Here’s the question. Was the decline in 2019 and 2020 primarily a function of Votto’s age? Or his health? Or both? In 2021 he realized he needed to change his approach, and did, and thrived. In 2022 his shoulder and biceps were just too damaged for that to continue to work. Assuming he’s healthy and strong again (a huge assumption of course), I believe that his 2021 approach should work well again and perhaps even better at full health. But if the injuries and worsening health / strength just exacerbated the age related decline then I agree that 2021 was likely Votto’s last hurrah. But I know that no one works harder than Joey Votto, and no one is more thoughtful and deliberate in his approach. So if anyone can succeed at nearly 40 years old, it’s Votto. But maybe no one can. I’m not about to write him off. As Chad Dotson’s recent column says “Never, ever doubt Joey Votto”. But at the very least I’m excited to find out.

      • CI3J

        Poor health and inability to bounce back from injuries quickly is part of the age-related decline. The body at 40 years old simply doesn’t have the same resiliency it does at 20 years old or even 30 years old.

        So while a 30 year old MLB player can play every day because his body can completely recover with one good night’s sleep, a 40 year old may take two or more days to fully recover to 100%. The body at 40 is also more brittle and less elastic, which means small movements that a 30 year old doesn’t even think twice about can quickly become small, nagging injuries to a 40 year old.

        Granted, not everyone ages at the same rate. That’s why you have players like Jim Thome, David Ortiz, Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk, and Pete Rose, who remained pretty good players into their early 40s. But why do we remember these players? Because what they did is very unusual and rare, and only happens once in a very, very long while.

        It’s possible Joey Votto could be a slow ager like the other players on this list. But, statistically speaking, it’s much more likely Joey Votto is pretty much finished at this point and would be more of a liability for the Reds.

  5. Ken

    Joey Votto should be a Cincinnati Red for life. His career accomplishments and friendly demeanor could be the face of the franchise for years in whatever capacity they see fit.