The Mets placed third baseman T.J. Rivera on the 10-day disabled list with a partial UCL tear in his right elbow, the team announced Friday. The assignment is retroactive to Thursday, when Rivera sat against the Padres during the finale of a four-game set in San Diego. Second baseman Neil Walker was activated from the 10-day disabled list in a corresponding move and is slated to make his first start of the second half against the Mariners on Friday.
The exact cause of Rivera’s injury is unknown, but the New York Times’ James Wagner reports that the infielder was dealing with arm soreness for an unspecified length of time and was seen wearing a tennis elbow wrap prior to his stint on the DL. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo adds that Rivera has already received a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat the injury and will wait to see if it takes before resorting to Tommy John surgery. This is the first substantial injury the third baseman has sustained since he was called up to the majors last August.
Rivera, 28, slashed .290/.330/.430 with five home runs and a .760 OPS through his first 231 PA of 2017. He made the bulk of his starts at third base, but logged some time at first and second and was expected to help fill in for first baseman Lucas Duda, who was dealt to the Rays for relief prospect Drew Smith on Thursday.
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.