Finally, some good news in the Cincinnati Reds' corner of the baseball universe.
It appears that Joey Votto's quick rehab stint with the Triple-A Louisville Bats is over, and the former NL MVP will rejoin the big league squad for tonight's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's in the lineup, batting 3rd and playing 1B.
Votto went 2 for 6 with a pair of singles and a run scored while with the Bats, starting both Sunday and Monday's games against the Pawtucket Red Sox. While the former indicates he's at least comfortable seeing the ball well, manager Bryan Price indicated that the team was more concerned with how Votto responded to playing in back to back games than with how well he hit, and that falls in line with the previous comments made regarding Votto's quad issue. It had been mentioned several times that pain wasn't the main issue in resting Votto for nearly three weeks, and that it was instead a lack of strength in his quad that was sapping his ability to hit like the Votto of old.
The Reds' 1B was hitting .257/.410/.449 with 6 HR before being placed on the DL, his last game being the May 15th contest against the San Diego Padres where he struck out three times - the only three strikeout game of his season. While that .859 OPS sits well below his career mark of .956, it will still come as a boost to a lineup whose overall team OBP of .299 and OPS of .670 rank 27th and 26th respectively among all teams in baseball. Considering the quad issue that ultimately sent him to the DL was a primary driver of Votto's sub-Vottoan performance, there's every reason to expect those numbers will improve, too.
Making way on the 25-man roster will be Donald Lutz, who was optioned back to Louisville. Considering how sparingly Lutz was playing since his call-up, that's a good thing, as the young slugger was off to a hot start to his minor league season and needs to be getting regular at-bats somewhere.