Joey Votto: “I’m a different hitter than most.’

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Certain parts of the Cincinnati media like to go after Joey Votto because he’s not a run-producing RBI machine. This despite the fact that, um, yeah, he actually creates boatloads of runs and is far and away the best hitter that team has and has had in, like, 30 years. But he takes walks and speaks intelligently about advanced metrics, see, so screw that guy, right?

Perhaps his biggest detractor is Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Yesterday, however, Daugherty actually talked to Votto about his hitting and value as a hitter. And if you can get past Daugherty’s Luddite opening and closing remarks, Votto says a lot of interesting and intelligent things about his hitting and the criticism he takes for the way he approaches hitting.

Really, though, Daugherty’s overall tone is the most illuminating thing about the piece. I feel like certain sportswriters don’t know much what to do with an athlete who is demonstrably intelligent, which Votto certainly is. So he must be “curious” and weird and different and what he says must be met with dubiousness. Pretty funny, actually.

Carlos Martínez to pitch out of bullpen upon return from injured list

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Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said pitcher Carlos Martínez will work out of the bullpen when he returns from the injured list, The Athletic’s Mark Saxon reports. Shildt noted that the decision is based on Martínez’s needs rather than the team’s needs, which suggests he may not yet have the strength to pitch as a starter.

Martínez, 27, opened the season on the injured list due to a right rotator cuff strain. The right-hander was also injured last year, battling lat and oblique injuries. He will go to extended spring training and likely begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. Based on that time frame, Martínez should be activated around mid-May.

Last year, Martínez made 18 starts and 15 relief appearances, posting a 3.11 ERA with five saves and a 117/60 K/BB ratio across 118 2/3 innings. It is unclear what role(s) Martínez will have in the bullpen, but he could eventually help set up for closer Jordan Hicks.