Joey Votto to undergo knee surgery Tuesday, out at least three weeks

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The Reds entered tonight’s action one game in front of the Pirates in the National League Central, but they’ll have to get by without their best hitter for a while.

The Reds just announced that Joey Votto will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’s expected to miss the next three to four weeks. This confirms an earlier report by MLB Network’s Dan Plesac.

Votto initially suffered the injury on June 29 against the Giants, but he managed to avoid a stint on the disabled list and participate in the All-Star Game as scheduled. However, he evidently can’t play through the pain any longer.

Todd Frazier is filling in at first base tonight against the Diamondbacks and figures to stick there if Scott Rolen is healthy enough to play. That’s no sure thing, of course. Votto’s surgery could increase the Reds’ interest in adding a bat leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Votto, 28, is hitting .342/.465/.604 with 14 home runs, 49 RBI and a 1.069 OPS in 86 games this season. He leads the National League with 66 walks.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.