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.”
The first day of workouts is complete here on Thursday afternoon. At the moment of typing this, it’s exactly 72 degrees warmer in Goodyear than it is in Cincinnati (sorry).
Be sure to check out today’s story on Johnny Cueto by clicking here. Cueto says he isn’t worried about his contract talks and doesn’t expect it to be a distraction here at camp.
*Devin Mesoraco to get increased workload and catch Cueto more. (Click here)
*Bryan Price isn’t worried about his job security (click here)
Quotes from today:
“I do anticipate him taking on a higher workload this season. He missed some time last year with the injury to begin the year and then the hamstring, which took some games away from him. I also had Johnny linked with Brayan Pena and I’m not going to do that to start the season. Johnny threw well to both of them last year. It will be a little more random with how I use Brayan.” — Price on Mesoraco.
“Preferably, I’d like to catch 161 and take one day off after we clinch. I’m sure there are going to be some times where it makes sense to get Brayan in there and give me a couple of days to just regroup. As much as they want to write my name in the lineup is as much as I want to be back there.” — Mesoraco
“Honestly, it would be good to have something done before [the deadline] because that would take things out of my mind. All I have to do is continue to play baseball.” — Cueto
“He’s a very talented young man, very polished from what we’ve seen. It’s a small sample size, it’s never more than two innings. It’s been very good. Our feeling is he has the stuff and the command to start, but he hasn’t taken on a starter’s workload in some time. We’ll integrate him at some time, that’s where we feel he’s best suited until we feel otherwise. We’ll integrate him there, that’s where we feel he’s best suited until he proves otherwise, we’re going to get him ready as a starter.” — Price on Raisel Iglesias
Much of the daily developments from Reds camp and tidbits will be migrating to the main site at Reds.com from here on out. I will continue to blog things here when I can and give additional things or immediate breaking news.
For now, here are some pictures from the first day of workouts on Thursday:
The pitcher throwing in the bullpen is Raisel Iglesias.
MLB Network announced Wednesday that it will be televising three Reds spring games. That brings the total of Reds games on TV this spring to seven with the four Reds-Indians games being carried by Fox Sports Ohio.
Here is the MLB Network slate:
Friday, March 20 – Reds at San Francisco Giants – 9:00 p.m. ET
Monday, March 23 – Reds at Texas Rangers – 9:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, April 4 – Reds at Toronto Blue Jays – 1:00 p.m. ET
MLB Network’s annual “30 clubs in 30 days” shows will be back as well. The Reds will be featured on Saturday, March 14 at 10 p.m. ET.
Good morning from Goodyear…
Spring Training is here as Reds pitchers and catchers report to camp Wednesday. It’s not a formal workout day (that’s Thursday), but several players are here. I’ve seen Homer Bailey, Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall, Paul Maholm, Raisel Iglesias and Dylan Axelrod, among the players in the clubhouse.
Bailey, who is coming off of surgery to repair a torn flexor mass, said things are going well but that he is still a little behind from his usual schedule.
“I haven’t gotten off the mound,” Bailey said. “Usually, l like to get off the mound a few times before I come. But I can catch back up real quick. It’s more getting used to the throwing everyday stuff.”
Bailey noted that he has not had any setbacks to this point.
More to come on Reds.com/MLB.com throughout the day.
The Reds’ equipment made the 1,800-plus mile trek from Cincinnati and arrived in Goodyear on Saturday. The clubhouse staff unloaded it all ahead of pitchers and catchers reporting on Wednesday.
I will be flying out to Arizona on Tuesday and the stories/posts on Reds.com/MLB.com will be plentiful. Be sure to check there every day for fresh content. I will also try to have some blog extras and breaking news on here as well.
LHP Ismael Guillon cleared waivers, and was outrighted Friday to Triple-A Louisville.
Guillon will be at big league camp in Spring Training as a non-roster invite. He was designated for assignment last Saturday when the Reds signed free agent reliever Burke Badenhop.
The Reds and Aroldis Chapman avoided arbitration Friday by agreeing to a one-year contract with terms not yet known.
Chapman was the final arbitration case pending for Cincinnati, which has not gone to a hearing since 2004 when the club won a case over reliever Chris Reitsma.
In the exchange of salary figures last month, Chapman wanted to make $8.7 million while the Reds counter-offered with $6.65 million. Slated to turn 27 on Feb. 28, he was second-year arbitration eligible.
UPDATE: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that Chapman will make $8.05 million, which is $400,000 above the midpoint between the two sides’ figures.
Fox Sports Ohio announced that four Reds Cactus League exhibition games will be televised.
All are vs. the Indians on the following dates:
March 4 at 3 p.m. ET
March 5 at 3 p.m. ET
March 17 at 4 p.m. ET
March 26 at 4 p.m. ET