Joey Votto Finally Returns to Cincinnati Reds’ Lineup


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They say that if you fall off a horse, you should get right back on it, lest you grow timid about your next equine encounter.  Imagine, for example, the drama that might play out in your mind if you waited eight months before hopping back into the saddle.  If you’re not sure how that might go, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto could probably tell you, as he finally made his Spring Training debut today, eight months and two days after his last at-bat.

C. Trent Rosencrans reports at the Cincinnati Enquirer that Votto picked up right where he left off, watching pitches go by.  The first two in his first at-bat and the first three in his second went unharmed, much to Marty Brenneman’s chagrin.

As for results, Votto flied out against Kansas City Royals starter Danny Duffy in the first inning and singled against reliever Wade Davis in the third.  Before coming out of the game in the fourth, Votto had run the bases, charged around second on a fly ball, made a handful of putouts at first and jumped for a throw.

It was like the Joey Votto Pro Day, and the good news is that none of his body parts failed him, at least as far as observers could tell.

That’s no resounding victory, of course, but there really can’t be any at this stage of the game with Votto.  Every day is a test, and the next will be whether he takes the field for a second day in a row with the Reds take on the Seattle Mariners tomorrow afternoon.

The funny thing about the whole injury situation with Joey Votto is that there may not be quite as much pressure on him to perform at the top of his game in 2015 as we have all assumed over the winter.  Shortly after Votto went down for good on July 5 last season, the Reds reeled off their best streak of the year and looked like genuine contenders coming out of the All-Star break.

It wasn’t until the Brandon Phillips went down, Alfredo Simon and Billy Hamilton cooled down, Todd Frazier petered out after the Home Run Derby and Jay Bruce failed to turn his season around that the Reds spiraled toward the bottom of the division standings.

The Reds showed they can win without Votto, if everything goes right.  Of course, that’s a tall order, and so is making the playoffs in 2015, even with Votto in the lineup.

In short, the Reds just cannot expect Votto to be the same player who won the NL MVP award in 2010, regardless of what the numbers on his contract say.  The new Votto, with his aging body and tender quad, won’t carry the Reds the way the old one could have.

Even so, it’s great to see Votto climb back on his old paint.

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