The Cincinnati Reds have been on the rise over the course of the last couple weeks, riding solid all-around play and a surge from their lineup to a winning streak that bumped them over .500 and into the thick of the NL Central race.
That streak has come despite the fact that first baseman Joey Votto is still clearly hampered by the left quad strain that landed him on the disabled list earlier in the year. For a while now it appeared that the Reds were content to run 75% of Votto out there each night with the thinking that it’s still better than the alternative at first place. You can reasonably make that argument, especially given Votto’s ability to get on base and the defense that he plays.
But should that playing time come at the expense of the impact he could have if healthy? It appears that the Reds are wondering the same thing, as they will reportedly take a step back and place Votto on the DL.
According to Ken Rosenthal:
Sources: #Reds‘ Votto likely headed back to DL with same injury as before – strained left quad.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 6, 2014
Votto’s relatively empty locker and removal from the lineup on Sunday prompted some frantic trade speculation. That eventually passed, and it turns out that he was out because of this eventual trip to the DL.
Votto’s pop is down this season, but his aforementioned on-base skills are still elite, as evidenced by his .255/.390/.405 slash line. The Reds will hope that shutting Votto down for a brief stretch will set him up to boost that near-.400 on-base percentage with a better average and better power numbers in the long run.