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.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.