Another Brewer down: Alex Gonzalez set for MRI on knee

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Here’s a streak that might hold up all year: Alex Gonzalez left Saturday’s game with a right knee injury, making it the fourth straight game in which a Brewers starter has gotten hurt.

Tuesday: Mat Gamel (torn ACL – out for the season)
Wednesday:  Ryan Braun (Achilles’ tendon – returned Saturday)
Friday: Carlos Gomez (hamstring – expected to go on DL)
Saturday: Gonzalez (knee)

Gonzalez was injured on a successful steal of second base in the second inning and was replaced by Cesar Izturis. He’ll undergo an MRI on the knee and could land on the DL with Gomez on Sunday.

Shortstop has been a big problem in the Milwaukee organization since J.J. Hardy was traded. Izturis can still pick it pretty well, but he hasn’t had an extra-base hit since 2010 (truly, he hasn’t). Behind him is the defensively challenged Brooks Conrad, so the Brewers almost certainly will need to make a move for a shortstop if Gonzalez is going to miss more than a couple of days. Calling up Edwin Maysonet from Triple-A is the likely choice.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.