Joey Votto is just about ready for active duty.
The 28-year-old first baseman hit a solo home run Saturday in his rehab debut with Triple-A Louisville, finishing 1-for-3 with two strikeouts while feeling no lingering discomfort in his surgically-repaired knee.
Votto went 1-for-5 with with an RBI and three walks in his first three rehab games last week with the Low-A Dayton Dragons, and seems to be almost back to full health after an absence of nearly two months.
The plan, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, is for Votto to return to the Reds on Monday.
Cincy enters play Sunday with an 8.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central.
The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.
Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.
Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.