Votto to DL, Phillips back

It’s not very stunning that the Reds placed 1B Joey Votto on the 15-day DL, but reason listed was an unexpected twist. His injury has been listed as “stress-related issues,” and not the ongoing inner-ear infection.

The Reds held a closed-door clubhouse meeting after the team bus arrived. Votto is not with the club and it was believed he returned to Cincinnati.

“He’s dealing with a personal issue. He wants us to respect his privacy about that,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

No more details were revealed, at Votto’s request. There was no timetable for a return.

“They weren’t informed about what was wrong,” Baker said of the meeting. “I just told them we have to stick together, even more than ever. Whatever it is, we need to support him. This is like a member of your family. Right now, he needs their support and love and understanding something they might not even understand.”

Apparently, this has less to do with the inner ear infection than originally speculated but again — details are at a minimum.

“It’s partly that. Let’s leave it at that,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “It’s basically something that Joey needs some time away to deal with. We gave him that time. It’s not a big deal but it’s something that was affecting his ability to play at the level he wants to play at.”

C/IF Wilkin Castillo was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take Votto’s roster spot. As speculated last night, the Reds don’t have many options on the 40-man roster and since Castillo is primarily a catcher, Ramon Hernandez can move to first base full time. Ryan Hanigan can catch every day and the Reds won’t lose as much offensively in the lineup.

Baker also said that OF Jonny Gomes would start taking groundballs again at first base, where he saw some action at Spring Training. Gomes did not play any at 1B during his time at Louisville.

As Votto exits for a while, 2B Brandon Phillips (fractured right thumb) is back in the starting lineup for the first time in a week. Phillips pinch-hit Friday and bunted into a groundout in the ninth inning.

“One day, we’ll be whole,” Baker said. “These guys have been very resilient. We just have to be more resilient.”

Reds lineup:

Taveras CF Dickerson CF
Hairston 3B
Bruce RF
Phillips 2B
Nix LF
Hernandez 1B
Gonzalez SS
Hanigan C
Harang P

CF Willy Taveras was scratched with a sore right hamstring. Taveras slipped on the outfield grass Friday in the sixth inning on Prince Fielder’s long fly ball. Chris Dickerson started in CF and will lead off.

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Last night when the Reds had the opportunity to bunt, Dusty chose not to bunt with no outs because “Willy hasn’t been swinging the bat well lately.”

(Leave aside for a second that Dusty obviously could have had someone else bunt, like Paul Janish, and then have Dickerson pinch hit for Taveras.)

Could someone please ask Dusty this question: If it is the case that he doesn’t consider Taveras to have a decent shot at driving in a run with one out from third base then WHY IS HE BATTING LEAD OFF, the position in the batting order that comes up most often?

Taveras has 8 RBI this year, on pace for 24. His inability to drive in runs costs the Reds almost every game. Some people say, “well, he just needs to get on base” – that’s wrong. (Plus he’s failing at that as well.) Being able to drive in runs is highly relevant even for the lead off hitter, as Friday’s game proves. And by this criteria, Taveras is absolutely terrible.

Good luck to Votto. I hope he can overcome whatever it is that he is facing.


Granted Taveras is in a slump lately, spmancuso, but RBIs aren’t a strong stat for leadoff hitters. They hit directly behind the eighth spot and the pitcher, who don’t often get on base. The two stats I care about most for Taveras are scoring and getting on base. He leads the team in hits and runs scored.

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