After spending nearly a month on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps Reds first baseman Joey Votto is back in the starting lineup and batting third for tonight’s game against the Dodgers.
Cincinnati went 11-12 in Votto’s absence while using light-hitting backup catcher Brayan Pena as the primary first baseman, with Todd Frazier and Donald Lutz also seeing some time there.
Votto last played on May 16 and hit .257 with more walks (33) than strikeouts (31) and a .410 on-base percentage in 39 games before the injury, posting an .859 OPS that’s 100 points below the former MVP’s career mark.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.