If you're hoping for a firm timetable on Joey Votto's return, then you're out of luck. John Fay reported that Votto is staying quiet on the issue. The all-star first baseman isn't discussing the specifics of the injury and won't comment on how it's affecting his abilities. The worst news for Reds fans came from another source:
Manager Bryan Price admitted Friday that Votto may not get to 100 percent this year.
"The soreness - I can't say it's completely gone - but it's much more controlled," Price said.
"But the strength deficit is still a concern. To me, it made more sense to get Joey as close to 100 percent - that may not be possible this year - but as close to it as we can and give him a better foundation on which to play as opposed to getting him back at 50 percent because we didn't give him an extra week to 10 days to get that stability back in in his leg."
It's looking more and more unlikely that we will see the pre-injury version of Votto again. He turns 31 in September, and minor aches and pains sometimes become lingering injuries for older players. That's not a reason to panic. Votto is still a tremendous player and will likely remain one for several more seasons. Rather, it's a realization that we may have already witnessed his best season.
Yesterday was the 79th anniversary of the first night game in major league history. As you all know, the game took place at Cincinnati's Crosley Field. The Reds defeated the Phillies, 2 - 1, in front of a Friday night crowd of 20,422. Billy Myers led the way for the Reds, going 1 - 3 with a double, a stolen base, and a run. Paul Derringer went the distance for Cincinnati, striking out 3 and posting a game score of 74.
The Enquirer posted the paper's original game story on its website yesterday. It's a fun read, not least of all because of the older style of sports writing employed by James T. Golden, Jr. I particularly enjoyed the following section:
The beautiful sex was well represented (President Roosevelt might have been gratified to note the preponderance of soprano "Oh's" that greeted his successful long distance light-turning-oning). But the stands were packed with thousands of the strong, silent sex (which is really sort of weak and very vociferous at a baseball game) – from callow youths accustomed to burning the midnight oil to elderly gentlemen who used to sit in the boiling sun and root for Ty Cobb, and then go home and go to bed with the chickens, but who now elect to stay up with the bats and yell for Billy Myers.
Charles Rieckel, whose hundredth birthday is coming with October, who hasn't missed an opener for 35 years since he was a mere youth of 65, and wo can't remember missing an outstanding game since the 80's made a special trip up to Cincinnati from his home in Cynthiana, Ky. To see something new under the sun or rather under the moon.
I find it interesting that night games are so ordinary now that day games have become more of a special occasion.
Gabe Kapler called the game with Thom Brennaman yesterday. From what I've seen on Twitter and in Cy's recap, it seems as if a number of people enjoyed Kapler's commentary. He's sharp and articulate in writing (e.g. his foreword to this year's Baseball Prospectus), so I'm glad to hear that he added to the game.
Kapler posted a nice story about his trip to Findlay Market on his blog this morning. He purchased several items, and he particularly enjoyed the tomatoes. It's refreshing in some way to hear of a media member exploring local places on the road.
Yesterday, Kazuto Yamazaki pointed out that Todd Frazier has been the 30th most valuable player in baseball over the past calendar year by fWAR. (Frazier's actually 31st after last night's game, but Yamazaki's point stands.) Frazier's been the second most valuable Red in that time period, and he trails Joey Votto by such a slim margin that they're essentially even. In that span, Frazier has hit .244/.325/.434 (110 wRC+) and produced 7 more runs than an average hitter. He's been at least 1 fWAR more valuable than Jay Bruce, Allen Craig, Pablo Sandoval, and many others in that time.
The Chicago Cubs have signed Manny Ramirez as a player-coach for the team's triple-A affiliate in Iowa. It's hard to envision a situation in which Ramirez would return to the big leagues. That said, he was a tremendous hitter with a refined approach, and the Cubs are hoping that his knowledge of hitting rubs off on the players in Iowa.
I'm going to steal Wick's bit and share some tunes with y'all. Yesterday was Bob Dylan's 73rd birthday. He's a favorite of mine, and I think "Mississippi" is one of his best.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!