CINCINNATI (AP) — Joey Votto threw a hit and hit a game-winning two-run single when he returned to the Reds lineup after a 10-month absence following surgery to repair his biceps and rotator cuff, helping Cincinnati to a 5-4 win over Colorado. Which strengthened the team. NL Central is in the lead.
The 39-year-old hit sixth and played his first base game Monday night in his first major league game since Aug. 16. A high fastball by Austin Jumper in the fifth. The 102 mph flight landed dozens of rows of right field benches and put the Reds ahead 3-1.
After spinning around his home bases #343, Votto emerged from the Reds’ dugout for an encore, wearing a ceremonial Vikings helmet and hat. He hasn’t played since August 6 against Milwaukee’s Jake McGee.
“A lot of time will come,” Foto said. “Since I saw them put it on each other, I thought how much I would love it because it is connected to a winning moment, and that is exactly—exactly—what this team is. It’s a different energy than I experienced years ago, maybe throughout my career, the way these guys think. The guys in Themselves and how hard it is to play in. I wanted to be a part of it, we are all part of it.
Voto’s second-inning single off Jake Bird, who ran at 108.7 mph, gave the Reds a 5-4 lead in the sixth.
Votto was given a standing ovation when he walked to the plate in the second half, took off his helmet and waved to the crowd, then punched him in the heart.
“The crowd’s reaction was surprising,” Votto said. “Don’t underestimate them, but you don’t expect that. I feel the same for them. For them, giving back means a lot to me. It was an unforgettable experience.”
Votto underwent surgery on August 19, ending a season in which he hit . 205 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs. At the time of the process, the Reds said they expected a six-time All-Star to return on Opening Day.
“I feel more like myself,” Votto said before the match. “I am back healthy. Ten months is a long time to rehabilitate. If I have to join a winning football club, it is my responsibility to keep up to date with them.”
He debuted in spring training on March 12 and hit . 182 with a double and an RBI in eight games, then was placed on the 10-day disabled list and sent to Triple-A Louisville for a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment. Votto hit . 184 with one homer and five RBI through April 14, then was placed on a 60-day IL contract on May 4.
He returned to Louisville on June 3 and hit . 182 with two homers and six RBIs in 12 overtime games through Sunday with the Bats. Cincinnati activated him from IL on Monday and placed Hunter Green as a 15-day IL right-hander with right hip pain, a decision backdated to Sunday.
Reds chairman David Bell says Votto will play a lot, but it will be a day-to-day match-based decision.
In the final season of a 12-year, $251.5 million contract, Votto was among 20 players with 8,000 or more plate appearances to reach . 297 or better with at least a . (0.412) and a deceleration percentage. At least .500 (.513).
Join a team that started the night with a 37-35 record, half a game behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. The Reds have made the playoffs only once since 2013, when the playoffs were expanded to 16 teams for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“I’ve witnessed the culture of this club,” said Votto. “Things are changing for the better.”
Green, 23, is 2-4 with a 3.93 ERA in 14 starts with 100 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings pitched.
On the right, Kevin Herget is tasked with making a spot for Votto on the 40-man roster.
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