After spending nearly a month on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps Reds first baseman Joey Votto is back in the starting lineup and batting third for tonight’s game against the Dodgers.
Cincinnati went 11-12 in Votto’s absence while using light-hitting backup catcher Brayan Pena as the primary first baseman, with Todd Frazier and Donald Lutz also seeing some time there.
Votto last played on May 16 and hit .257 with more walks (33) than strikeouts (31) and a .410 on-base percentage in 39 games before the injury, posting an .859 OPS that’s 100 points below the former MVP’s career mark.
The Cleveland Indians have released Mike Napoli.
This is not terribly surprising as he was seen as a depth move to begin with. Injury insurance for Yonder Alonso at first base and Edwin Encarnacion at DH, neither of whom are injured at the moment. Napoli was on a minor league contract and the Indians made it clear that, if he can’t find a major league job elsewhere, he’s welcome to come back and cool his heels in Columbus in the event he’s needed later.
Which may be what happens if he wants to keep playing because, after a season in which he hit .193/.285/.428, and a spring in which he hit .218/.310/.431, there aren’t likely to be a ton of takers.