Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has been a fixture in his team’s lineup on Opening Day for years.
Year in and year out, whether the Reds are candidates, pretenders, or a bottom-barrel team that year, his name is penciled as the first baseman, usually third or fourth in the order.
This year will be different, though.
He won’t be playing on Opening Day for his beloved Reds, as he will open the year on the injured list.
“Joey Votto will begin the season on the IL, ending his consecutive Opening Day streak. ‘It saddens me because Opening Day means a lot to our city. It means a lot to me. This is just how it is shaking out this year. I’m trying to hustle back,’” Reds insider Bobby Nightengale Jr. tweeted, quoting the slugger.
Joey Votto will begin the season on the IL, ending his consecutive Opening Day streak.
“It saddens me because Opening Day means a lot to our city. It means a lot to me. This is just how it is shaking out this year. I’m trying to hustle back.” https://t.co/lyopOMnK4B
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) March 27, 2023
Votto will report to Triple-A Louisville to continue rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery.
He should stay there for about a week or two, and then when he has some at-bats under his belt, he will rejoin the Reds.
In other words: he is completely and 100 percent healthy.
He just lacks the timing and rhythm at the plate to face MLB pitching for now.
After all, Votto is 39 years old coming off a rather pedestrian showing in the Cactus League and a down season in 2022.
Last year, he slashed .205/.319/.370 with 11 home runs and a .689 OPS in 322 at-bats.
That was a far cry from what he did in 2021, when he homered 36 times and posted a .938 OPS.
The Reds hope he only needs a handful of games before getting in game shape.
He will be missed by fans on Opening Day, though.NEXT: Hunter Greene Expresses His Excitement For Opening Day