With Danny Duffy sidelined, the Royals are calling up Yordano Ventura

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It’s not happening under the best of circumstances, but the Royals are calling up one of their top pitching prospects to help their postseason efforts.

CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler reports that Royals will call up prospect right-hander Yordano Ventura to start tomorrow night against the Indians. He’ll pitch in place of Danny Duffy, who was diagnosed with a “very mild flexor strain” following an MRI.

Ventura, 22, posted a 3.14 ERA and 155/53 K/BB ratio over 134 2/3 innings this season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. While he’s listed at just 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, he’s capable of hitting 100 mph with his fastball.

Duffy, who is in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, hasn’t pitched since September 7. As Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes, the good news is that there’s no structural damage in his elbow. Still, it’s possible he’ll be shut down for the rest of the year at this point.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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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.