Reds' Joey Votto graces cover of Sports Illustrated

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MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon passes along word that Reds first baseman Joey Votto will be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated that is set to reach newsstands today.  Sheldon also has a picture of the cover, so go check that out.

Because we’re mostly sane here at HBT and don’t buy into petty jinx theories, this all arrives as great news.  Votto is an MVP candidate, he might just win the Triple Crown, and he’s overcome a bout with clinical depression along the way.  It’s nice to see that he is finally getting a dose of well-deserved exposure.

But, uh, go ahead and tell us how Cincinnati is now doomed in the comments section.

Votto is the first Reds player to make the cover of SI since Ken Griffey Jr. on June 14, 2004.  The 26-year-old leads all eligible National Leaguers with a .323 batting average and he trails only Adam Dunn and Albert Pujols with 29 home runs.  The Reds currently hold a 2.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central.

Brock Holt has been shut down from game activity

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Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.

According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.

Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.

Nationals Acquire Ryan Raburn From White Sox

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The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.

Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.

The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.