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Joey Votto returns to Cincinnati Reds after being sidelined with COVID

Is Opening Day possible for him?

Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Indians Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

It wasn’t too long ago that Joey Votto was one of the talks of Cincinnati Reds camp. The 37 year old 1B had come to camp with a continuation of the revamped batting style that saw him finish the 2020 season with a flourish, and was even off to a hot start in Cactus League play.

It fueled hopes that there could still be a renaissance to his career after a few years that lagged. Then, of course, he was diagnosed with COVID-19, and was forced to step away from Reds camp altogether, putting in question both whether he’d be ready for Opening Day and whether he’d be facing even more serious complications.

Fortunately, it appears he’s back in Reds camp already, as The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans relayed Sunday.

Votto will be eased back into action, as expected, but it’s still within the realm of possibility that he could be ready to face the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day on April 1st.

In other news, the Reds announced another round of cuts from camp, too, including a pair of players who had been getting some reps at 1B in Votto’s stead.

Scott Heineman is the most notable of that duo, as he’d shown enough versatility and pop while in camp to make a case for making the team’s OD roster, including some work at 1B. Perhaps complicating his situation is something Rosecrans, too, which is that the Reds are still unsure of the option status of a trio of important pieces in Aristides Aquino, Jose De Leon, and Cionel Perez, news that makes roster building incredibly difficult while on the cusp of the regular season.

It’s a flurry of moves this Sunday, but ones that, on the whole, constitute positive news for the Reds.

Welcome back, Joey.