Joey Votto says he “practiced walking a lot” during the offseason

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The relationship between Reds first baseman Joey Votto and segments of the Cincinnati media and fan base has been stormy. The 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner has drawn criticism for walking oftenmore than anyone else in the game, actually — which some have suggested has limited his contributions during important situations. Some have said his walk-often approach and time spent on the disabled list indicated a selfish player.

Votto has, at times, shot back at his detractors. He called them “ignorant” at this time last year. This year, he’s having a little more fun, getting into the trolling business. Per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

He’s also thankful to be entering camp at full health. Last year Votto began spring training rehabbing from a quad injury.

“I did a lot of walking and a lot of sleeping (in the offseason),” Votto said. “The Cincinnati fan base can be excited about the future of my performance, I’m going to be well-rested and practiced walking a lot.”

You have to appreciate that sense of humor.

Last season, Votto played in 158 games and took 695 plate appearances, hitting a lusty .314/.459/.541 with 29 home runs, 80 RBI, 95 runs scored, and a major league-best 143 walks. That earned him a third-place finish in NL MVP balloting behind winner Bryce Harper and runner-up Paul Goldschmidt.