Joey Votto returned to the Reds lineup on September 5, and this is news to exactly no one. What might be slightly surprising is that he has hit the ground sprinting like Usain Bolt, slashing .571/.750/.714 since his return. The Astros clearly preferred to not bother pretending to be able to get Joey out, especially with runners on base. Only one of the four walks/HBPs they issued was officially intentional, but in reality almost all of them were. The Reds are 1-2 since his return, though. I guess everyone stepped their games back down (except Jay Bruce) now that Joey is back to shoulder the load of the whole offense. Either that, or we're just looking at a random three game sample.
In other news that isn't so much, the book is officially closed on Bill Bray for this season. He will not be activated from the DL, as he was pitching very poorly in his rehab stint in Louisville when the minor league season ended. It is probably in Bray's best interests to spend his time healing now, which he may not have properly done this entire season. He'll still get a ring if we win; that should be consolation enough.
Lastly, the presumptive starting left side of our infield (I say this because Rolen v. Frazier is a tough call) is currently sidelined with back troubles and some oblique problems thrown in. Zack Cozart has not played since September 3 due to his back "locking up" while trying to hit, and now because an MRI revealed the problem was actually an oblique strain. Scott Rolen has not played since the 4th, due to lower back issues (protruding discs) which have been lingering ever since he returned from the DL for the same problem in mid-August. He was able to mask the problem pretty well, at least on the offensive side of things, slashing .259/.344/.426 since being activated. I wonder how strong he will be for the playoffs. Neither player is on the DL, what with expanded rosters in play. Rolen says his injury should only keep him out for a series or so; "It's not a week. It's not 10 days." Cozart is hopeful to be ready sometime this week.