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.”