The Cincinnati Reds have sent first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Jonathan India to Triple-A Louisville today where both will begin rehab assignments.

Joey Votto’s shoulder had been bothering him a bit and he’s missed the last two-and-a-half weeks while recovering. It’s the same shoulder that he had surgically repaired a year ago and caused him to miss nearly the first half of the season. Prior to going on the injured list, Votto had been in a big slump. In his final 10 games he was just 4-33 with one extra-base hit. His OPS in that stretch of games was just .368. It was .856 in his first 41 games of the season.

Jonathan India has been out quite a bit longer than Votto has. He went on the injured list in late July with plantar fasciitis. India had expected to be back quicker than he was, and went and got a second opinion – even noted he was disappointed in the team’s treatment of the issue, second guessing that he could have returned sooner had they gone with their second treatment option at first.

India didn’t experience a big drop off in production right before winding up on the injured list. But he had been playing with a little bit of discomfort for a bit of time before the public heard about it, too. But over the last five weeks prior to winding up on the injured list he hit just .202/.287/.333. Over the first 73 games he played he had hit .271/.355/.439.

Both players are already eligible to return from the injured list, so there’s not a specific amount of time that they must remain on their rehab assignment before coming back. It’s going to be a matter of being able to play and feel right for both players.

Update: 4:15pm ET

Prior to the game manager David Bell noted that Joey Votto could return to the Cincinnati Reds as early as Sunday.

Kevin Newman’s rehab stint

Cincinnati utility-man Kevin Newman has already been with Louisville since the start of the week. He has played in three games while recovering from an oblique strain. He’s gone 0-3 in each game, but has walked three times and struck out twice in his 12 plate appearances with the Bats.

61 Responses

  1. Rednat

    I really hope Joey can come back. I may be in the minority here but i want him to get healthy and play another year

    • Rut

      Live in Cary, NC so just bought tix for the Bats games at Durham Bulls next Tues and Weds. Tues game 2 tix front row behind plate on Reds dugout side; Weds 4 tix front row basically sitting directly behind Reds bullpen.

      No guarantee that Votto or India will be there, but think there is a darn good chance. And total cost for 6 tix was under $175, so feels like a worthy splurge.

      Will be fun nights regardless of whether the rehabbers there or not!

    • Melvin

      I would love for Votto to come back and be healthy. However neither he nor India should come back if they’re not able to help this year. This is crunch time. This is the pennant race. No time to mess around about anything. If able maybe they both can be in a pinch hitting role. The question would then be who’s roster spots do they take? Senzel? Farichild? If so and India can’t play the field that would leave no backup infielders. I doubt it would be Renfroe or Bader and it shouldn’t be Martini.

      • wkuchad

        India shouldn’t be activated if he can’t play the field, right? We only have one DH, and that’s taken up by an injured Fraley (at least against righties).

      • Rick

        Agree.
        I hope that we hold on to Martini too.

    • MCT

      I like Votto, but no thanks. He’s going to take up payroll the Reds could use for free agent signings.

    • SteveAReno

      Well, Kevin Newman went 3 for 5 last night with an RBI and another run. Looking so good!

  2. AMDG

    While it’s true Votto was just 4 for 33 (0.121) in his final 10 games, he was even worse in mid July, going 2 for 36 (0.056)

    He’s had a few big games this year, but for a majority of the season (41 of his 51 games), he only hit 0.107 with a 360 OPS.

    Hopefully Votto can return by the Reds last homestand, and get a few token AB’s as a last “good bye” to the Cincy fanbase, before he is replaced by the better, younger, cheaper players next season.

    • Doug Gray

      Most guys have hit poorly when you remove their good games.

      • Daytonnati

        I think Doug might be part Vulcan 🙂

      • Brian Rutherford

        This might be my favorite comment ever on any Reds thread ever.

        Well done Doug.

      • Jim Walker

        @Daytonnati, Doug’s comment seems to me to be more of a Yogism. 😉

      • AMDG

        Agreed. A metric that removes outliers will not look the same as when the outliers are included.

        But the point everybody wants to willfully overlook is the extremity of how much WORSE this is for Votto.

        Applying this metric to other folks, and the batting averages & OPS’s fall to:
        McLain – 0.250 / 0.700
        Steer – 0.230 / 0.700
        Benson – 0.220 / 0.680
        EDLC – 0.180 / 0.530
        Votto – 0.110 / 0.390

  3. RedsGettingBetter

    It is interesting what will be the 40-man and active roster moves when India & eventually Votto return… In the other side, I think Newman could be a candidate to be DFA’d as well as Casali, Kennedy or Shreve. I would dare to say Nick Senzel could be optioned to triple-A again

  4. Klugo

    Let’s get these guys back, along with McLain, and make some hay.

  5. Tim

    This roster is looking fantastic for next season. Votto and India and Newman may not be starters on this roster. The difference maker on the IL is McLain. I’m hoping he can return. Nonetheless, good to be getting these guys back.

  6. old-school

    Looks like Cruz is back from Covid so adding him and Hunter Greene is a boost.

  7. LDS

    Bring India back. Bring Votto back for his swan song, but play him infrequently. DFA Newman. Newman or Senzel but not both.

    • Melvin

      If you DFA both you still have Barrero on the 40 man too. Somebody has to go out of that group most likely.

      • LDS

        Any organization that would keep Newman over Barrero would be unfathomably clueless. Nobody wanted Newman except the Reds.

  8. AJ from Hamilton

    The Reds owe JV $7 million next year (I believe) whether he plays or not. He’d be playing at age 40, and I realize most people who comment here would like to see him retire at the end of this season. But the year he’s having this year is pretty much what you’d expect from a guy who had major shoulder surgery. See for example Brandon Rodgers of the Rockies, who has exactly no home runs on over 100 ABs and a BA around .215. I think Votto could be a solid bench bat for the Reds next year, maybe starting once a week or so at first or DH and pinch hitting as appropriate. I also think he has more to teach the young guys on this team. If he were willing to come back for $8 million (the buy-out plus a million) I’d do it. Senzel and Barrero might fetch us the innings-eating starter we desperately need.

    • 2024WSChamps

      I agree with this 100%. All of our young infielders (Steer, Marte, CES, McLain) have one thing in common: They are right handed!

      The Reds could still use a left handed power bat to platoon at 1B and DH. Votto showed that when he was healthy this year, he can still provide good pinch hit ABs and power (13 HRs in 45 games).

      If he is willing to play less and make less money, I would like to see him come back for one last shot at a ring.

      • AMDG

        The problem with that is all 4 of the guys you mention are hitting RHP much, much better than Votto.

        If he is going to pinch hit or platoon vs a RHP, shouldn’t he be BETTER at that than the guy he is replacing?

    • Doc

      If he plays, they owe him the full amount of his contract, which is more like $20M? If they buy him out, they owe him $7MM. I believe that is a bit more accurate.

      It’s an interesting question: what if they buy out the contract for $7MM, do the rules then allow them to resign him for a smaller amount, $1MM to use your example, or does the CBA have something to say about that?

      Personally, I hope he gets no more than a final cameo home appearance this year and is retired next year. Objectively, except for one very hot half year, he hasn’t been that good for five years and counting. When he has been decent, it’s been after they were all but eliminated already, to which his slow starts were major contributors.

      • Jim Walker

        Yes, the swing amount is $13M more if he plays for them under the terms of the existing contract than if they buy out the final year of the contract for $7M

    • PTBNL

      If he comes back next year, who really believes that DB will have him as a bench bat only??????????

      • Pharmer85

        Exactly. If he’s on the roster DB will play him way more than he should.

    • mac624

      They will buy him out. This is his swan song. They aren’t going to pay him 20 million to platoon/be a bench piece/etc. Votto may very well play next season, but it won’t be with the Reds. Next season the team will become EDLC’s/McClain’s/Fraley’s/India’s team.

    • Tar Heel Red

      AJ From Hamilton – Votto’s buyout is $7M. If the Reds decide to pick up his option it will cost them $20M (and those who think Votto will renegotiate a more team friendly deal are kidding themselves). No, it is time (past time really) to cut the purse strings and let him ride off into the sunset.

  9. MK

    Why in anyone’s name would they waste prospects at bats by giving them to Votto. If he doesn’t go on his own the team needs to give him a one way ticket to Toronto. He is almost an automatic out and is no longer a Top 50 player in the organization. Please don’t come up with sentimental crap about the organization owing him. He has been well honored this season as a $25 million paperweight.

  10. CFD3000

    The key question for me on Votto is health, not age. If he’s truly healthy and 100% strength then I do want to see him back next year and playing every day there’s a right handed opposing starter. But if he’s not healthy or at full strength then it will be, sadly time to hang up the spikes. But those answers won’t come until the offseason and next spring. I’m guessing and hoping the Reds will pay the $7M buyout and then resign him for nearly nothing, or an incentive laden contract then see how he progresses. But there’s no doubt in my mind that a truly healthy Votto would make the Reds better this year and next. Time will tell if that’s even an option.

    • AJ from Hamilton

      Just to be clear, I would not of course be advocating $20 million to Votto next year. I had assumed they could give him the required $7 million and then agree on a modest amount beyond that. If the CBA doesn’t allow that, then that’s that. My related point, though, is that I do think a significant part of his struggles this year have been related to the shoulder surgery, from which just about NO ONE comes back quickly. It’s taken Bellinger two full years to do that, and you might make the case Votto would be impaired next year too. I guess I think he still potentially has value to the team and if he were permitted to renegotiate a more modest contract, I think he’d use spring training to determine whether he had another full year of (part time) baseball in him or not. This has nothing to do with sentimentality by the way.

  11. LDS

    The lineup is out and Stephenson is on the bench despite his hot hitting. For all the defenders of Bell last night, this is one of those examples that his detractors can point to. Maile, Abbott’s catcher? Maybe, they are hardly Carlton/McCarver.

    • Old-school

      Maile has caught abbott overwhelmingly and they are a nice team

    • Kevin H

      Nothing new here @LDS. Maile has caught Abbott all season. Just making something out of nothing.

      • Indy Red Man

        I cautiously agree with LDS. You’re already sitting Fraley, Freidl, and Benson while degrading Elly & now you’re benching your hottest hitter too? I also wouldn’t sit Freidl for Bader or Fairchild.

        I still think we get to this guy and switch out for lefties so hopefully it works out

    • LDS

      Stephenson is the hottest hitter on the team and ostensibly the #1 catcher. They need the hitting.

      • wkuchad

        It wasn’t too long ago several vocal posters on this sight wanted Maile as the #1 and Stephenson benched or traded.

        As noted above, Maile has caught most or even all of Abbott’s starts. Plus, Maile has hit lefties better than Stephenson this year.

      • LDS

        @Wkuchad, I wasn’t one of those that wanted to trade him. I recognized that recovering from surgery takes time. And against LHers, Stephenson is hitting better now

      • Rick

        I didn’t know that Abbott threw all of those good games in the minors to Maile. Lol
        And I’m a Wildcat fan.
        Abbott is good & smart. So he may shake off Tyler a few more times, so be it. We need all the offense that we can muster because the season is quickly winding down and we’re trailing.

    • ChrisInVenice

      Maybe, just maybe David Bell has some inside information.

      • Justin T

        He always does and its usually wrong. But 25 percent of the time it works 100 percent.

  12. Brian

    Votto is making 7 mil from the reds regardless. The right move is to not pick up the option and for Votto and the Reds to agree to a 5 million, one final year deal. He isn’t worth 13 million.
    Bell would play him more than he should though and Votto may not want to see his career Avg. and OBP. continue to slide either as that is his HOF bread and butter.

  13. Rick

    Shoulder issues tend to be chronic, especially for a 40 year old. Tendinitis, Bursitis, Arthritis also tend to follow.
    Joey was a good regular season player for along time, I hope that he retires gracefully, shortly.

    • Jim Walker

      The guys who have been on the field deserve better than for Votto to be given PAs in MLB games to decide if he is truly ready to play this year or wants to try to play next year. Leave him at Louisville until he plays his way (back) onto the MLB team like Benson, McLain, ESDLC, CES, and Marte did.

      • Rick

        A few cursory ab’s at Louisville,, and presto! Will bat 5th Sunday.

      • Jim Walker

        @Rick>> And we all know the script from there because we saw it before. He will run down, his shoulder will start fading again and nobody will stand up to him and tell him what is happening and a precious game (or 2 or 3) will slip away before he comes to terms with it.

        I was amazed to see the Krall quote when JV finally went back to the IL the latest time. NK said he could see Votto’s shoulder failing and it was hard for him to watch it happening over a period of time.

        I’m thinking, Dude, you are VPoBO, you’ve got a team in the playoff race and you are not intervening or at least telling your manager to deal with the situation by having a CTJM with the player? Who’s minding the store if not you???

      • wkuchad

        Even with Votto’s terrible 10 game slump, he still has a higher OPS than India, De La Cruz, CES, Marte, Stephenson, and he’s tied with Friedl.

        Now, I don’t think Votto should take away at-bats from these players, but it’s not like it’s the return of Wil Myers-level production.

      • Jim Walker

        @Chad>> Since Votto went to the IL, Stephenson’s OPS is 1.208, CES is .831. Marte is .784, and Martini is .919. These have been 4 key guys in the Reds hanging in an winning 4 of 7 vs Cubs and Mariners. Which of them should sit for Votto?

      • Rick

        Jim, you are correct, we’ve seen that movie before. For Krall to say that about watching JV struggle for a period of time was painful to watch! My gosh! I’ve referred to Bob C. as Legacy Bob, now NK falls right inline with this organizational thinking. Do they think that us ardent Reds lifer’s are worried about one once great player, or a now 28 player team trying hard to be a playoff team?
        Priorities, my my.

  14. SR

    And probably play 1st too on Sunday. This will also result in losing Martini too, who has come up clutch several times in Votto’s absence and plays a respectable 1st base. Who sits when he returns? Marte? Benson? Strand? Fraley with his bad toe going to play the field? Doesn’t even factor in India return to the mix either. What ever happens this month, the off season will be an adventure to watch on who stays and who gets dealt and what we get in return.

  15. Jimbo44CN

    Like one excellent Boss I had at one time said, it’s not what you have done in the past, it’s what have you done for me lately. How quickly everyone forgets how good Joey has been, year after year, for mostly bad teams. I am not saying he should start every game from now til October, but he should get better treatment than what I have read on here today.

    • Wayne Nabors

      I could be wrong jimbo but I think he’s only had 1 decent or good year since 17,and if ur boss was excellent then he made alot of since

    • Votto4life

      Jimbo it says more about the posters than it does about Votto. With this type of fan base, I’m not sure why McClain, Abbott, Steer, EDLC etc. would want to sign here long term.

      The funny part is these posters actually think the Reds will put any money, they save by cutting Votto, back into the team. That is laughable on its face.

      Some people are just gullible and never learn.

    • AMDG

      Votto was an elite hitter from 2007 to 2018.

      And those 12 great years earn him some slack, for sure. But the question is how much does it buy him.

      In 4 of his past 5 seasons he has been mediocre at best, averaging about 0.2 WAR in those 4 seasons.

      Some would argue, after 4 down seasons over the past 5, that he’s used up his ‘grace period’ for under performance, and it’s just simply time to move on.