Joey Votto: “I’m not ready to play yet”

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Joey Votto is three weeks into what was initially a 3-4 week recovery timetable for knee surgery, but told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that his return isn’t imminent:

I’m not ready to play yet. I’m moving in the right direction. I’m definitely not sure on a timetable. I’m not doing that to be coy, it’s because I genuinely don’t know which day. I’m making progress.

Votto is close enough to returning that the former MVP has been practicing his sliding, although manager Dusty Baker revealed to Brian Hedger of MLB.com that Votto “was a little sore after sliding and trying to get that muscle memory back.”

Of course, Baker also noted that Votto “needed a little work on his sliding before he hurt it.”

(Zing!)

Cincinnati won 16 of 19 games after placing Votto on the disabled list in mid-July, but the Reds have now lost five straight games to shrink their lead in the NL Central down to 2.5 games over the Pirates.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.

Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.

Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.

Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.