CINCINNATI — Joey Votto’s name has been in the starting lineup for every game this season so far — until Wednesday night.
Votto likes days off as much as Henry Ford liked Chevrolets and nearly every time Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price suggests one Votto suggests not.
But Wednesday was the perfect time for the Reds first baseman to sit and watch. A game with the Pittsburgh Pirates was rained out Tuesday and the Reds are off Thursday so Votto gets three days off and misses only one game.
“Some real rest,” said Price. “I anticipated giving him tonight off and with the off day tomorrow that’s back-to-back days. But with the rainout Tuesday that gives him three days off, some real rest and recovery time.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better because he has started every game and played almost every inning,” Price added.
AFTERE A SHODDY and rugged April, Votto’s numbers are steadily climbing the charts.
“You can’t outwork this guy,” said Price. “He is putting in an unbelievable amount of time with (coaches) Don Long and Tony Jaramillo. We know the history of what Joey does so it inevitably will come back around to do what he does. I do see a better swing and he is on base more and he is smoking some balls.”
HOMER BAILEY CHECKED for a different opinion on his recovering elbow from Tommy John surgery and the second opinion was the same as the first.
And it means a setback and start all over time. It isn’t likely Bailey will appear in a rehab game for at least a month.
Everybody is kind of mysterious about it and Bailey laughed and said, “Flu-like symptoms in my elbow. Elbow flu.” Ulnar neuritis was mentioned — inflammation of the ulnar nerve that causes numbness.
“We’re being cautious, how’s that?” said Bailey. “They said it is more uncommon that I didn’t have a setback until now. We’re over a year out (from surgery). A year out is pretty quick to come back.”
BAILEY SAID EXTENSIVE research has been done on the ulnar collateral ligament surgery (Tommy John) and said, “Guys who come back on the 12-month mark have a higher probability of having it happen again as opposed to waiting 14 months. The numbers are pretty skewed.
“So we are going to take a step back and try it again, but we don’t know when I’ll be back,” he added. “I took 10 days off from throwing and that’s a long damn time not to throw. So it is almost having to build all the way back up. I don’t see a rehab assignment for at least a month. It won’t happen any time soon. It isn’t because I feel anything in the elbow, it’s just that I have to start over and build everything back up.”
THE POSTPONED GAME Tuesday couldn’t have come at a better time for the Reds’ pitching plans, especially with the absence of John Lamb (thumb injury).
“We knew for sure we wanted to give Lamb extra time,” said Price. “This also builds in an extra day of rest for Brandon Finnegan. Tim Adleman will get two and Lamb will get at least two extra days of rest and Alfredo Simon will get one.
There can be a down side, too. Too much rest.
“You like to be able to have everybody take advantage of the rainouts and the off days,” said Price. “I am not a big fan, and most pitching coaches aren’t, of more than a single extra day of rest. For a guy like Adleman, he’ll have a whole week off and Lamb will have a week. It is a fine line. These guys are conditioned to pitch every fifth day. One day is kind of a bonus.”
LAMB THREW in the bullpen before Wednesday’s game but said he didn’t even attempt to throw a breaking pitch.
“I couldn’t spin a curveball because I still felt a little discomfort,” he said “But I am happy from the improvement from when I left the game. I hope moving me back a couple of days works because it is getting better and better each day. I’m not happy that I can’t spin the curveball right now, then again that’s called picking my battles. I’m happy that I could throw and get the arm moving.”