Joey Votto expected to begin rehab assignment this week

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Great news this morning out of Cincinnati.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com was informed by club sources that Reds first baseman Joey Votto is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment this week with the Low-A Dayton Dragons and could be cleared to rejoin the active 25-man roster by next weekend if all goes smoothly over the next several days.

Votto has been on the shelf since undergoing surgery in mid-July to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He then required a followup procedure on August 10 to remove a piece of floating cartilage.

The 28-year-old first baseman was batting .342/.465/.604 with 14 home runs, 36 doubles and 49 RBI in 86 games before landing on the disabled list. Cincy is an impressive 27-13 in his absence, maintaining a healthy lead in the National League Central.

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.