The person the Cincinnati Reds could probably least afford to lose may be heading to the disabled list. Joey Votto and his injured left knee added to the Reds’ injury woes Friday as an MRI confirmed his condition. Votto stayed in Cincinnati for the procedure while the Reds begin a six-game road trip that began in Philadelphia Friday.
Cincinnati manager Brian Price said the team wanted to give Votto a couple of days to rehab the injury in Cincinnati before deciding whether to place him on the disabled list. Price indicated that decision could be made some time Sunday. Votto was the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player and is the most important hitter in their lineup. In a season full of injuries, losing Votto for a prolonged length of time would be crippling. Besides Johnny Cueto, he is the Reds MVP.
This is the same knee Votto had two autoscopic surgeries on in 2012 but the Reds did not believe this new ailment to be related to the previous issues. The first basemen had been struggling the last couple of weeks and it could be knee related. The Reds are hopeful that some time off will allow Votto to be at a 100 percent again soon.
“We want him back as Joey Votto, not as a shell or shadow of who he is,” Price said. “We want him to play confidently on that knee and that leg for the rest of the season and the rest of his career moving forward.”
Tony Cingrani comes off the disabled list – While Votto’s news is troubling the Reds did get some good news as left-hander Tony Cingrani came off the disabled list Sunday to make his seventh start of the season. Cingrani stint on the DL began April 30. He carries a 2-2 record into Sunday’s action with an ERA of 3.34. Price had only been carrying four starters during his absence and was able to pull it off because the Reds had three days off during that time. However, Cingrani’s return comes just in time as the Reds just began a stretch where they play 18 games in 19 days.
Latos Close To Return – Despite Votto adding to the Reds injury woes the Reds continue to receive good news on other injury fronts. Not only is Cingrani back but their No. 2 starter last season, Mat Latos threw a bullpen session Thurday is slated to throw a simulated game Tuesday in Washington. At this point Latos is reporting no issues with his arm and if the simulated game goes well he would likely begin a rehab assignment soon. Price refuses to put a time table on his return but late May early June is most likely.
Mesoraco returns with a bang – Catcher Devin Mesoraco also came off the disabled list Friday promptly caught nine innings of shut out ball and hit a three-run home run as Cincinnati defeated Philadelphia 3-0. Price gave him Saturday off and plans to continue to ease him back in the lineup after Mesoraco spent 15 days on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring. His bat is needed, especially with Votto out. Mesoraco has only played 14 games but is hitting .460 with an OPS of 1.329. If the Reds could ever get everyone healthy, they could make a run in the National League Central.
Votto’s injury adds to the Reds woes but his injury appears to be one that will not keep him out for a while. With Mesoraco and Cingrani back, and hopefully Votto and Latos returning soon, Price’s team could be starting June in good shape.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Cincinnati Reds