Reds first baseman Joey Votto will miss his fifth consecutive game on Sunday due to a stiff neck. He ran and threw on Saturday, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, and will try to take batting practice this afternoon.
But he’s unlikely to return to the Cincinnati starting lineup until Monday, or maybe even Tuesday when the club begins a crucial three-game set with the Cardinals.
“I feel better,” Votto said. “It’s hard to go from nothing to a game
without batting practice. I anticipate I will hit today, do my
exercise, running and throwing. We’ll see how it feels from there.”
The 26-year-old Votto is batting .312 with a 961 OPS, 10 home runs and 33 RBI through 170 at-bats this season and the Reds hold a two-game lead over the Cards in the National League Central.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.