Alex Brandon/Associated Press
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right lower leg contusion, the team announced on Friday.
Votto has been hobbled since taking a fastball from Washington Nationals reliever Ryan Madson to the knee on Aug. 4:
The Reds star was clearly heated by the pitch, wondering if it was retaliation for a Bryce Harper hit-by-pitch.
“My reaction kind of falls in line with [not knowing Madson’s intent],” Votto said, via MLB.com’s Kyle Melnick.
Outfielder Aristides Aquino, the team’s No. 16 overall prospect, has been called up from Double-A in a corresponding move.
Votto is still one of the National League’s most productive players at the plate as he exits what are typically a player’s peak seasons at age 34. He topped 20 home runs for the eighth time in 2017 with 36 and also led the NL in on-base percentage for the second straight year.
He is hitting .284 with a league-leading .422 on-base percentage with nine home runs, 24 doubles and 55 RBI. He has hit just .227 with one extra-base hit and three RBI in eight games since the incident, missing a pair of contests during that time.
The Toronto native has also remained durable over recent years. He’s played at least 158 regular-season games in four of the last five campaigns. The one exception came in 2014 when he was limited to 62 appearances due to a quadriceps issue.
Cincinnati doesn’t have a proven replacement for Votto. After having traded Adam Duvall at the non-waiver deadline, Jim Riggleman will have to figure out a solution. Dilson Herrera, Brandon Dixon, Curt Casali and Tucker Barnhart could all see time at first.
Ultimately, the Reds’ batting order isn’t anywhere near as potent without Votto in the middle, no matter how they try to replace him. That said, the focus now is making sure he’s able to shake off any issues so they don’t linger throughout the year.