Joey Votto was once the Cincinnati Reds‘ franchise player.
His career has been so good that he has a legitimate case to be considered for the Hall of Fame.
However, he is 39 now, and injuries and natural decline have derailed his most recent seasons outside of a really strong 2021.
He underwent offseason shoulder surgery and missed the entire 2023 campaign up to this point while rehabbing.
Fortunately for himself and for the Reds, he made his much-anticipated return on Monday, and it was impressive.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 20, 2023
Votto went 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBI, and a walk as the Reds defeated the Colorado Rockies, 5-4.
You could say it was a vintage Votto performance: power-hitting, walks, and driving in runs.
Votto is not the hitter that won the NL MVP award in 2010, and the Reds have other young leaders on the field.
He remains, however, their spiritual leader and could thrive in a secondary role.
If his shoulder is healthy, and given his most recent rehab games we would say it is, he could be a contributor for the young, surging Reds.
It has been an impressive turnaround for a franchise that started the 2022 campaign with a 3-22 record.
Now, they are 38-35 with an ongoing nine-game winning streak.
They have officially taken the top spot in the NL Central division.
As they seek to separate from the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Chicago Cubs, Votto’s left-handed bat could come in handy for Cincinnati’s lineup.
He will be the veteran among the youth, but he can still help a team reach the postseason.NEXT: Former MLB Star Discusses Joey Votto's Return