Votto arrives in camp

Reds first baseman Joey Votto arrived to Reds camp a little early on Saturday, ahead of Monday’s full-squad report date. Votto spoke with the media and was asked about a variety of topics — including his health after he missed 100 games last season with a distal strain of his left quadriceps, and about his approach to hitting.

Here are some of the questions and answers:

After returning from a 2012 knee injury, he played 162 games in 2013. Could that happen again this year?

“I’m definitely hopeful,” Votto said. “I come into camp every year with the hope and expectation of playing every game that is available to me. My goal is to play as often as possible and help the team in any way, shape or form that I can.”

Is he 100 percent without limitation?

Votto: “I haven’t gone through the evaluation process with the strength staff and the [physical therapy] staff and the doctor and obviously, the baseball people. If I get a couple of days under my belt and get the evals done, I think we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at. As far as how I feel now, I feel good.”

Can Votto do everything during his workouts?

Votto: “I’m swinging, I’m throwing, I’m taking ground balls, I’m running. I feel like it’s a big contrast from the end of the season and during the season last year.”

Was it a tougher offseason knowing all the games that were lost to the injury last season?

Votto: “I feel content with what I’ve learned. I’m not looking back with any sort of regret. I feel like I’ve learned a great deal. I feel like everything I have gone through has led to me learning more about myself and learning about ways to prepare and improve the process. Hopefully that process will help me perform better on the field, and stay healthier and be more consistent and most importantly, help the team win.”

Was he aware of the debate about his hitting approach that continued this offseason in Cincinnati?

Votto: “I think that’s to be expected because I am the guy who has the big contract. There are times where it can be a bit of a nuisance because I have to answer a question. Most of it is noise. I think that I’ve proven, when healthy, that I’m a helpful part of the team. I do my part.

“I have to be careful with what I say. In terms of being in the middle of it, sometimes I think it’s really, really silly. I’m not going to use the word ‘ignorant,’ but ignorant. I also think there’s some validity to it because it’s coming from a perspective that is being nostalgic. … Ultimately, it’s entertainment. I’m part of the entertainment industry. If there weren’t debates like this then, what the hell are we doing? I think this is great.

“I’m the big money guy. I’m the guy that is supposed to do certain things and has done certain things in the past and it’s expected in the future. I’m not doing it so let’s talk about it, let’s get after it and I think that it’s great. I’m glad I can be a lightning rod, as long as I’m a lightning rod while performing one way or the other. Whether it’s the 2010 version or the 2013 version, you cannot deny that I haven’t performed and been able to provide value for the team and able to help the team get to the playoffs. Both examples, I was part of a playoff team. I’m not saying the main part or anything like that, but I was a part of it. As long as I’m part of it, it’s the most important thing. I think it’s fun. No one is getting hurt. I should expect it.”

22 Comments

I like that he showed up early. Tells me attitude wise he’s doing well. Hope the physical is there. Looking forward to seeing a healthy Votto. What a difference it would make.

Not exactly feeling comfortable about his responses to his health, but hopefully he is just being cautious…

I’m a Votto fan and more a Red fan. His response sounds a little weird. Only way we will find out about Joey is time. I hope he is not accident prone.

I also like the fact that Votto is early it shows he is a team player with good attitude, but we are at the “Wait and See Mode” I wish him well this season Swing at them good pitches if even close a hit goes along way more so then a walk. get them on, get them over, get them in.

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Mr. Votto is a straight up, intelligent man. Great ball player, teammate and ambassador of baseball. Well spoken, full of integrity and refreshing attitude.

Glad that Joey set a good example and came early. I have no doubts that he has worked very hard in the offseason. Joey will give us a 100%. I am so excited for baseball season. Lets go Reds. I am a Joey fan for what he does on the field and off. Cincinnati is blessed with so many players who care about their fans and community. Can’t wait to April.

Welcome back Joey!! I am confident that he will return with a badabing in his bat. He’s all about his performance helping the team. He knows why he is getting the big bucks. Sometimes his answers are a little evasive, but then again, that’s Joey Votto. Always the elusive and private man. Go Reds :}}}}}

I’m glad Joey’s back and hopefully Jay Bruce will be 100% but it doesn’t make me feel good as a Reds fan that management traded Latos and Simon, who is going to carry the load? Makes me think management does not care about the fans only the bottom line. I just hope they can sign Cueto before the deadline. If we lose him, then I know its the bottom line that matters.

Simon’s 2014 was an aberration and Fangraphs suggest that DeSclafani may be better than Latos as soon as this year… oh, and 3 years at league minimum plus 3 more through arbitration vs. $10MM for one last year of Latos… Wake up, dude! We aren’t the Dodgers! And whatever you’re smoking that makes you think the Reds have a legitimate shot at signing Cueto cannot be good for your long-term health, man. Put it out. Cueto will not sign for less than 6 years or $175MM – neither of which is a wise investment for a small-market club like the Reds. I love having Johnny Rocket on my team as much as the next guy, but let’s be real. Signing Cueto to an extension + Votto, Bailey, and Phillips deals = the Cincinnati Phillies, but with less money.

If you’re a Cincy Reds fan then you have to love Joey Votto in good times and bad. He’s also Italian which makes him a great guy too!

Joey, don’t change a thing about your approach to hitting. When a hitter expands the strike zone, he raises the chances of making an out instead of getting on base. That’s just idiocy. Keep doing it your way. Looking forward to a great 2015 from Joey Votto!

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Looking forward to watch Joey this Reds season!!

I think Joey Votto should be looking to drive in runs when there are base runners ahead of him and he has the opportunity. He probably has the best eye at the plate of any of the current players on the Reds. I think that is part of his game that is lacking from say his MVP season.

Sounds like a headcase.

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