Joey Votto takes batting practice, probably won’t return to Reds this season

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Every once in awhile in September, news trickles out of the MLB pipeline that leaves you scratching your head, as reporters begin to check in one last time with the players before the offseason. News out of Cincinnati today is that Reds first baseman Joey Votto, out since July 8 with a strained left quadricepts injury, is unlikely to return to the Reds in 2014. It’s a little surprising to hear that Votto could be done for the season now, because with the Reds long out of playoff contention, it seems foolish to rush Votto back for a few meaningless games, at best.

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The strained quad also had Votto on the DL from May 21 until June 10, and Reds manager Bryan Price said the former MVP isn’t 100 percent and is “not pain-free.” When he’s healthy, Votto is one of the game’s best hitters, and he led the league in walks and on-base percentage from 2011 to 2013. This year, Votto has not been healthy, slugging only six home runs (down from 24 last year) in 62 games this season. Price also admitted Votto hasn’t seen live pitching since being injured, although he’s taken four straight days of batting practice.

The Reds are a disappointing 71-84, and there seems to be little to gain by rushing Votto back into action for this final week, and a lot to lose, particularly if Votto injures his quad even worse. For now, the Reds might be best off letting 2014 go and telling Votto to get healthy over the offseason and come into spring training ready for the Reds to battle for the NL Central.

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