A spinning Dallas Keuchel would-be-groundout ran up and in against Joey Votto on Wednesday, the end result being a clip of his left thumb as it rode shotgun on the future Hall of Famer’s bat. X-rays eventually confirmed that Votto had indeed fractured said thumb, hitting pause for “weeks” on what had been something of a resurgent campaign in 2021, one that had seen him return to hitting lasers all over the diamond once again.
It’s the latest in a series of early-season shuffles to the Cincinnati Reds infield. The move of Eugenio Suarez to shortstop on the eve of Opening Day put that process initially in motion, with Mike Moustakas then moving back to 3B from 2B and Jonathan India making his debut to complement it all. Nick Senzel has seen time at both 3B and 2B with the return of Shogo Akiyama set to further crowd the outfield, and the fact is there are nearly a dozen ways the Reds can begin to stomach the loss of Votto and still try to put wins on the ledger, too.
It’s Friday, though, and on Fridays we list here at Red Reporter. With that in mind, here’s how some of the previous managers in Cincinnati Reds history would try to weather a few weeks sans Votto with lineup adjustments:
Lou Piniella - Trade a Randy Winn autographed Topps card to the Miami Marlins for 1B coach Billy Hatcher, putting Hatch in as substitute for his injured star
Bryan Price - Skip Schumaker, obviously
Sparky Anderson - Ask Jesse Winker to take over even though he’s never ever played there in his career, knowing it was the best way for the overall offense to thrive given the other potent bats on the roster
Dusty Baker - Call up Max Schrock from AAA, start him everyday, and bat him 3rd so as to cause as little disruption to everyone else in the lineup as possible
Davey Johnson - Use Tyler Stephenson and Tucker Barnhart there on days when they aren’t behind the plate, knowing Kyle Farmer’s on the roster as depth should they need it in a pinch
Ray Knight - Announce that Alex Blandino will get all the starts at 1B in Votto’s absence regardless of scenario, but refer to him at all times as ‘assistant 1B’
Jerry Narron - Lament that there isn’t a feasible option on the roster at all while wearing one of the seven Adam Dunn jerseys he owns
Pete Rose - Try to play 1B himself while betting on the Reds to lose
Bob Boone - Opt against using a replacement 1B at all and just hope nobody notices since they’re already losing so much
Jack McKeon - Move Mike Moustakas across the diamond to 1B and get Nick Senzel everyday reps at his original position of 3B, allowing Shogo to rotate into a potent 4-man outfield rotation