Joey Votto hit a home run very hard and very far

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According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, there have only been eight other home runs hit this year that went as far as the 470-foot blast Reds first baseman Joey Votto hit this afternoon against Brewers reliever Michael Blazek. Shin-Soo Choo had reached with a one-out walk and remained on first as Votto came to the plate with two outs. After working the count to 3-1, seeing only 90-95 MPH fastballs from Blazek, Votto crushed a 95 inside fastball down the right field line.

Rather than run, Votto knew he had hit the ball well enough that the only outcomes were home run or foul ball. As the ball began its descent, Votto contorted his body as if to will it to stay fair. The ball struck the foul pole near the top. The blast was officially estimated at 470 feet, Votto’s 23rd of the season. He now has a .928 OPS, good for eighth-best in all of baseball.

The video doesn’t really do the home run justice because the cameras couldn’t actually capture the flight path of the ball.

The Reds won 7-3 behind a quality start from Homer Bailey, who allowed three runs over seven innings. Aroldis Chapman was called on in the eighth and completed the four-out save, getting all four of the outs on strikeouts. The 84-65 Reds temporarily improve to three games behind the first-place Cardinals, and bolster their lead for the second National League Wild Card slot to five games over the red-hot Nationals.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to 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.