Back in April the Cincinnati Reds and Joey Votto cut short his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. Things simply weren’t going well for Votto. His numbers were terrible. His swing looked terrible. And shortly after coming back to Cincinnati, Votto would note that he simply wasn’t where he needed to be in order to be competitive on the field or in the batters box.
On June 3rd it was time to get back on the field and Joey Votto headed to Louisville to join the Bats once again. In his first three games on his rehab assignment he went 0-11 with two walks and two strikeouts. In the six games since then he’s hit safely in five of six games and is hitting .300/.483/.650 with eight walks and seven strikeouts in 29 plate appearances. Last night in Louisville he went 2-2 with a double, home run, and two walks.
In the last five games Joey Votto has walked eight times and struck out five times. He’s homered twice. It would seem that he is seeing the ball well. And he’s been making hard contact in this stretch, too. He’s put the ball in play 14 times in those five games. 11 times the ball had an exit velocity of 92 MPH or higher. Five times the ball had an exit velocity of 102 MPH or higher.
Position players can spend up to 20 days on a rehab assignment before the team must make a decision on the next move. Joey Votto’s first game on this rehab assignment was on June 3rd. That would mean that if he and the Reds wanted to, Votto could remain with the Louisville Bats through June 22nd before he would have to either be activated and join Cincinnati’s big league roster, placed back on the injured list and have to wait a bit to possibly begin another rehab stint in the future (which is what happened last time), or they could designated him for assignment (this won’t happen, but it is technically an option they have).
Of course the other thing in play is to activate him prior to his 20 full days of rehab. That decision is probably going to be up to Joey Votto himself. If he tells the team he feels right, he’s seeing the ball well, and he’s ready to go, they probably aren’t going to ask him to remain in Triple-A. From an outsiders perspective, it certainly seems that he’s seeing the ball well and hitting it well. But we don’t know exactly how he’s feeling while doing all of this. And that’s more important than anything else. Either way, at most Votto has six games left on his rehab assignment before a decision must be made.