Carlos Santana is banged up after taking a pitch to the thumb last night, but his backup is in worse shape. Cleveland placed Lou Marson on the disabled list with a cervical neck strain that stems from a home plate collision with Desmond Jennings over the weekend.
To replace Marson the Indians called up Yan Gomes, the catcher/first baseman/outfielder who was acquired from the Blue Jays in the Mike Aviles deal this winter. Gomes struggled offensively in 43 games as a rookie last season, but he’s shown pretty good power in the minors.
Santana is out of the lineup tonight because of the thumb injury, so Gomes is starting behind the plate and batting ninth. And in a sign that Santana could miss more than a day or two, the Indians also called up catcher Omir Santos from Triple-A.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.