In a little while on Reds.com/MLB.com, I will have the latest update on injured Reds 1B Joey Votto, who has been on the disabled list since July 8 with a distal strain of his left quadriceps.
There has been progress, manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. But Price also noted there is a long way to go baseball-wise, before setting a timetable — or even thinking about a timetable, to get Votto activated again this season. The club is still trying to get him on the field — this season.
“His commitment to playing and our commitment to wanting to play is important. It deserves every attempt,” Price said. “If we said hey ‘you can play in a week and play the last several days of the season,’ that might be something we deem worthy as a stepping stone into 2015. To get him ready to have a single commemorative at-bat in the last game of the season isn’t really the goal.”
My opinion: There are 16 games left after today. Votto has little to gain from coming back this season and in a way, more to lose. Let’s say he can play the final week of the season and he hits the cover off the ball — many fans would probably say “it’s too little, too late,” or “why couldn’t he have come back when the season was still meaningful?” If he comes back and performs terribly, it only leaves a bad taste to end the season and leaves no optimism for next season. He also risks re-injury, even if he appeared to be 100 percent. Many non-contending clubs, at this point, would not attempt to bring back a star player from an injury this late in a season.
There could be other motivations at play, like giving fans another reason to come to the ballpark or just something as simple as he should play since he’s being paid to play. But I think it’s time to shut it down and look to 2015 when the Reds will very badly need Votto to be 100 percent and able to contribute.
Here is a press release today from the Reds:
CINCINNATI (Sept. 9, 2014) — The Reds Community Fund announced today the 10th annual CBTS Marty Brennaman Golf Classic, which took place at Belterra Casino Resort on Sept. 7 & 8, raised $220,000 for the Reds Community Fund.
Hosted by Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, over 60 celebrities and 175 golfers participated in this year’s event that included two golf scrambles and a Sunday night dinner and comedy show.
This year’s special guests included Reds Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Sr. and former Red and current ESPN broadcaster Aaron Boone.
Since its inception in 2005, the Marty Brennaman Golf Classic has raised nearly $2,200,000 to support the baseball and softball-themed outreach programs of the Reds Community Fund.
The event was sponsored by Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions with additional support from Cintas and Belterra Casino & Resort. The Sunday night dinner and program was hosted by Jim Day and Fox Sports Ohio.
Following the dinner, guests enjoyed a comedy show in Belterra’s CenterStage Showroom featuring comedians Josh Sneed, Costaki Economopoulos and John Caponera.
Photos from the event are posted on Better Off Red: http://ramsey.mlblogs.com/
Some pre-game news for Tuesday…
*Reds 1B Joey Votto took 25 groundballs on Monday and some more on Tuesday. As far as making larger strides towards hitting on the field, Votto isn’t up to that point yet. Not much has changed since the updates over the weekend.
“As you would know, everything will go up incrementally,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “When it’s going to go up, it’s hard for me to say. He’s hit off the tee. He’s taken groundballs. As the trainers allow, he will increase his workload unless there is a reason not to increase it.”
*RHP Pedro Villarreal was doing well considering he took a Matt Holliday comebacker off of his right forearm in the ninth inning. Villarreal’s arm was still red and you could see the seams from the baseball slightly imprinted on it.
“It’s a little sore, a little tender,” Villarreal said.
Villarreal is not available to pitch on Tuesday.
“As you would expect, a line drive off the forearm is going to hurt,” Price said. “He threw enough yesterday that we wouldn’t think about using him today anyway. We’ll see where he is tomorrow.”
*Before even taking one at-bat on Tuesday, 3B Todd Frazier had a hit on his ledger. Frazier learned that an appeal to the league office was successfully appealed. In an Aug. 27 game vs. the Cubs, Frazier hit a groundball to 3B Luis Valbuena that was originally ruled as an error by the official scorer. Today, Frazier learned he was credited with a single. UPDATE: That makes all four runs scored in the inning now earned against Cubs pitcher Jacob Turner.
*CF Billy Hamilton turned 24 on Tuesday.
All of the remaining 19 games the Reds play in 2014 will be against NL Central opponents, with 16 of them against teams still in playoff contention — the Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates. At this point, all the Reds can do is try to disrupt the race as much as they can.
“Hopefully, we do make a difference in a positive way for our ball club,” Reds manager Bryan Price said on Monday. “We know these games mean a lot as far as where these teams — if they end up in the postseason or not. There should certainly be an investment on our side and make it a difficult thing for opponents to extract a victory from us.”
Playing division rivals or not, the Reds are desperate to finish 2014 with something positive, a tall task since they have gone 16-32 since the All-Star break entering the four-game series opener vs. the Cardinals.
“It eats at you from the inside, out to not play better than we have,” Price said.
The Reds ranks last in the Majors in second half batting average (.222), runs, hits, slugging and on-base percentage.
“We want to finish the season a lot stronger than we’ve played in the second half,” Price said. “It’s a troublesome feeling to go home, as frequently as we do, with a loss. I’m sure it’s eating away at everybody. It’d be a real nice reprieve from that heaviness to go out there and start to win more games. Certainly with respect to the those teams that are contending for the playoffs, we want to give them the best that we have. We have to do something selfishly, and that’s go out and win our games so we can feel a little bit better about how we finish up.
In the past four seasons, only 2011 was a year where the Reds were left to be spoilers. At the same time, they have some September call-ups they need to look at. It’s going to be a fine line for the club with how they use their younger players.
“We’re trying to respect the process and play as many of our regulars as possible against these contending teams, with still periodically getting a glimpse at some of the guys that we have for future consideration,” Price said. “That’s really what’s the challenge of this, is outside the Cubs series, everybody that we’re playing is still in contention. Yet we do want to see — I would like to see and I’m sure Walt [Jocketty] and the front office and out coaching staff would like to see — some of these guys play with a little bit more frequency. So that’ll be a challenge. We’ll see how that works its way out.”
The time of the Reds’ Sept. 21 game at St. Louis has been moved to 8:05 p.m. ET because it’s been picked up by ESPN for Sunday Night Baseball. For ESPN, it’s a potential chance to have the Cardinals clinch the NL Central. Another incentive for the Reds, perhaps, is not being the opponent that has to watch a team clinch playoff spots against them. It is possible — not necessarily likely — that the Reds could see St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee all clinch playoff berths against them. That would sting just a bit, no?
I am off the rest of the series. Back on Monday.