Joey Votto undergoes “minor procedure” after setback with surgically-repaired knee

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The Reds were originally hoping that Joey Votto would only have to miss three to four weeks following surgery on July 17 to repair a torn medial meniscus in his left knee, but that won’t be the case.

According to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer, returned to Cincinnati last night and had a “minor procedure” to have a piece of floating cartilage removed from his knee. He’ll need another 7-10 days of recovery time, which could put him at risk for missing all of August.

Votto experienced some soreness in the knee during sliding drills as recently as Thursday and told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he wasn’t “ready to play yet.” The floating cartilage was found after he was sent for an MRI.

Votto, 28, is batting .342/.465/.604 with 14 home runs, 49 RBI and a 1.069 OPS in 86 games played this season. The Reds managed a 10-game winning streak during his absence, but dropped five in a row before yesterday’s win over the Cubs. They enter today’s action at 67-46, 3 1/2 games in front of the Pirates in the National League Central.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.