As first relayed by beat writer John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer …
That’s Neftali Soto, who is 3-for-30 this year as a backup corner infielder for the Reds.
Skip Schumaker landed on the concussion disabled list July 11 — two days before the All-Star break. He is batting second and starting at second base in his return to action Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
The 34-year-old utilityman is batting .240/.287/.315 in 160 plate appearances this season.
Cincinnati got relatively good news on Joey Votto’s injury, which turned out to be a quadriceps strain rather than the feared significant knee problem, but the former MVP is still headed for the disabled list.
And in a corresponding move the Reds activated outfielder Jay Bruce from the disabled list after he missed the past two weeks with a partially torn meniscus in his left knee.
Three different players have started at first base in the five games Votto has missed so far, but Triple-A call-up Neftali Soto seems likely to get most of the action there.
Votto was off to a decent start before the injury, posting his usual .400-plus on-base percentage despite a .257 batting average thanks to a league-high 33 walks. However, his overall .859 OPS is 100 points below his career norm.
Bruce will resume starting every day in right field and will try to turn things around after hitting just .216 with three homers and a .715 OPS through 30 games.
UPDATE: Reds fans can exhale now. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that an MRI exam showed merely a strained left quadriceps for Votto and for now at least he’s avoided the disabled list. That could sideline him for a while, but it’s obviously much better than the assumed bad news from this morning regarding his left knee.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Reds first baseman Joey Votto is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on his left knee and is likely to be placed on the disabled list.
That’s the same knee Votto had surgery on in 2012, costing him two months of action, and according to Rosenthal the former MVP is not traveling with the Reds on their current road trip.
Votto was off to a relatively slow start, hitting .257 with six homers in 39 games, but he leads the league with 33 walks and has posted a .410 on-base percentage and .859 OPS.
Votto would join Mat Latos, Tony Cingrani, Jay Bruce, and Devin Mesoraco on the Reds’ disabled list and Cincinnati just got closer Aroldis Chapman back after he missed the first six weeks with facial fractures. All of which helps explain why the Reds are 18-21 after back-to-back 90-win seasons.
Neftali Soto could get an extended opportunity filling in for Votto at first base, but the 25-year-old former third-round draft pick has an underwhelming track record in the minors that includes a modest .410 slugging percentage in 244 games at Triple-A. A shocking number of Reds fans like to complain about Votto’s lack of power and RBIs, but he’s what makes that lineup click and replacing his incredible on-base skills is impossible.