Joey Votto gets first day off since September 2016

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Reds first baseman Joey Votto is not in the lineup for Thursday night’s series opener against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Nothing is wrong with Votto; manager Bryan Price just wants to give the veteran a day off, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.

This marks Votto’s first day off since September 2, 2016. Votto started in all 162 games last season as well as the first 11 games of this season. In total, he started 202 consecutive games. It’s not quite Cal Ripken, Jr.’s streak, but impressive nevertheless.

Votto, 34, is batting .273/.313/.273 with zero extra-base hits and three RBI in 48 plate appearances this season. Perhaps the day off will help Votto’s bat to come around.

Adam Duvall is starting at first base in Votto’s place for the 2-9 Reds on Thursday.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.