Evan Longoria’s return doesn’t sound imminent

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We haven’t heard much about Evan Longoria since he felt some discomfort in his partially torn left hamstring last week and was pulled off his minor league rehab assignment. But that’s because there’s just not much to report.

Rays manager Joe Maddon broke the silence earlier this evening in some comments to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune, but he had little to offer regarding a potential timeline for his star third baseman’s return.

Yikes. Reading between the lines here, it’s fair to say his absence will stretch well into the second half.

Longoria has now been sidelined for almost exactly two months. The Rays are 25-27 during his absence and entered tonight’s action at 40-35 on the year, 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East.

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.