Joey Votto expected to begin rehab assignment this week

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Great news this morning out of Cincinnati.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com was informed by club sources that Reds first baseman Joey Votto is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment this week with the Low-A Dayton Dragons and could be cleared to rejoin the active 25-man roster by next weekend if all goes smoothly over the next several days.

Votto has been on the shelf since undergoing surgery in mid-July to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He then required a followup procedure on August 10 to remove a piece of floating cartilage.

The 28-year-old first baseman was batting .342/.465/.604 with 14 home runs, 36 doubles and 49 RBI in 86 games before landing on the disabled list. Cincy is an impressive 27-13 in his absence, maintaining a healthy lead in the National League Central.

Report: Brewers have made formal contract offer to Yu Darvish

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Yahoo Japan reported on Sunday (Monday there) that the Brewers have made a formal contract offer to free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has confirmed Yahoo Japan’s report. The length of the offered contract and the value are not known at the moment.

Darvish recently said on his personal Twitter account that the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins, and “one more team” have been in the running for his services. The unnamed team was believed to be the Dodgers, but it may well be the Brewers.

The Brewers could certainly use Darvish’s arm. Chase Anderson and Zach Davies currently lead the starting rotation and the club added Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this offseason.

Darvish, 31, posted a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings between the Rangers and Dodgers in the regular season last year. He faltered in the playoffs, specifically in the World Series, where he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts. Darvish was apparently tipping his pitches, however, which is a correctable issue.