Reds first baseman Joey Votto ran sprints and performed agility drills on Tuesday afternoon at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, then told reporters after the workout that he was moving at “100 percent” and felt no discomfort in his surgically-repaired left knee.
But his return to the active roster is not imminent.
According to beat writer John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds manager Dusty Baker has ruled out activating Votto during the team’s current road trip, which technically won’t conclude until next Tuesday night.
“I’m still thinking the same,” Baker said of Votto’s timetable. “He’s training hard. He’s not too far. I’m just not thinking on this road trip. If you’ve had a knee injury the one key obstacle you have to overcome is sliding.”
Votto, 28, was batting .342/.465/.604 with 14 home runs in 86 games before going under the knife.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.