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Organizational Injury Report 7/7/2014 - Angst Over Votto

Votto to return to DL per Rosenthal

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Please get healthy, Joey
Please get healthy, Joey
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Reds plan to place Joey Votto back on the DL for the quad strain injury which has not healed since his last DL stint.  Votto's slash line and playing time have been covered repeatedly in other articles, and he has also been very visibly hobbled at the plate by the discomfort he's trying to play through.  Manager Bryan Price said that the Reds never expected to have Joey back at 100% at any point this season even before his first DL trip was completed, but his current percentage, whatever it might be, is too low to be playing at all.

The official word has been that the quad injury is unrelated to the knee injury which Votto sustained in 2012.  However, as mentioned in Fay's article linked by WKRP last night, it can be difficult to separate muscular injuries from structural ones in the knee.  Considering the timeline of events, I find it hard to believe that the injuries are completely independent.  Also mentioned in the article is Votto's marked decline in power production ever since the initial knee injury in 2012, and which is causing angst in Redsdom about what Votto's persistent leg injuries portend for his future and the enormous investment the Reds have tied up in the star first baseman.  It is certainly a disheartening way to start out the largest contract ever signed in club history.

All this naturally raises the question of when Votto will be healthy enough to play again this season, since a two-week rest seems insufficient to make a serious difference for this injury.  If the Reds fall well back of the division leaders during his absence, should they simply shut Joey down for this season and try to have him back at 100% next year?  If they are in a heated race, should they hurry him back and risk keeping him hobbled longer?  It is a very difficult situation, and we simply have to trust the Reds medical staff on whatever call is made.  It is made more difficult by the fact that there is not an appealing alternative to replace Votto with on the roster or in the Reds system.  Neftali Soto and Donald Lutz are the most likely internal candidates, and both have been terrible in MLB action.  Jack Hannahan is not ready to return, and he might be only very marginally better than Soto or Lutz anyway.  Brayan Peña is on paternity leave, but is probably the best option once he's available, with a callup of Tucker Barnhart for backup catching duties.  At least the Reds can count on getting one useful asset from Barnhart in his defense behind the plate.

Tony Cingrani, after his demotion to Louisville, was placed on the 7-day DL for a strained left shoulder on June 26.  This is his second DL stint of the season, and perhaps will serve to limit his innings on the season such that special handling will not be required at season's end.  As long as Alfredo Simon continues to defy all expectations, Cingrani won't be returning to the Reds rotation barring an injury.

At AAA Louisville, OF Felix Perez was activated from the 7-day DL on July 3.  3B Juan Silverio was placed on the DL July 5 with an undisclosed injury.  SP David Holmberg is slated to be called up to the Reds rotation for a spot start in the second game of a doubleheader July 8 against the Cubs.

At AA Pensacola, RPs Brooks Pinckard (strained lower back) and Carlos Gonzalez (right forearm contusion) were placed on the 7-day DL on June 30.  C Chris Berset was placed on the DL on July 2 with a sprained left wrist.  They are only the second, third, and fourth players to go on the DL for Pensacola for the entire season to date (Yorman Rodriguez was DL'ed in late April).  And this has been a trend at AA for several years.  I have been considering writing an article about why players virtually never go on the DL for Pensacola, but quite frankly I don't have any insight as to why it is.  At any rate, Pensacola's roster accounts for roughly 18% of the system's playing time, but less than 7% of the DL roster transactions since I began tracking injuries in late 2010.  If anyone has insights or theories as to why AA is an injury safe haven, please suggest in the comments!

At A+ Bakersfield, RP Daniel Renken and 2B Brent Peterson were placed on the 7-day DL on July 1 with undisclosed injuries.  OF Juan Silva was placed on the DL on July 3 with a fractured thumb.  2B Joe Terry and RP Tanner Robles retired from baseball.  We wish them luck in whatever they decide to pursue.

At A- Dayton, RP Pedro Diaz was activated from the DL on June 24 after missing 16 days.  Reds (and affiliates) injury statuses can be found any time via the link.