The Reds announced this afternoon that they’ve placed first baseman Joey Votto on the 10-day disabled list due to a right knee contusion. Votto, of course, was hit near that knee by Ryan Madson last week in what many believed to be an intentional plunking. A pair of Nationals hitters, including Bryce Harper, had been hit prior to Votto, who was clipped in the leg with two outs in the inning of a game the Reds trailed 6-2. Harper, who was also hit in the knee, had left the game.
Votto was visibly upset as he limped to first base and yelled some choice words at Madson upon reaching (video link), though he declined to speak much on the incident the following day and would not directly say that he felt Madson had acted with intent (second video link, via the Cincinnati Enquirer). Today’s announcement from the Reds made note of the fact that Votto was hit by Madson last week.
It’ll be the first trip to the DL for Votto since 2014, as he appeared in 158, 158 and 162 games from the 2015-17 seasons, respectively, and had played in 118 games prior to this injury. Votto’s batting average is down a bit and his power numbers are down substantially, but he remains one of the game’s premier on-base threats, as evidenced in his .284/.422/.419 batting line.
The DL placement for Votto comes just one day after the league suspended Marlins right-hander Jose Urena for six games due to what was deemed a clearly intentional plunking of scorching Braves star Ronald Acuna, who had led off three consecutive games against the Marlins with home runs. While Acuna has been able to avoid the disabled list, Votto won’t be as fortunate. It’s probably too late for there to be any disciplinary action taken against Madson, who is on actually now on the disabled list himself, but the juxtaposition of those two events could further fuel the conversation about the possibility of offseason measures to increase penalization for pitchers who have been deemed to intentionally hit a batter.
In Votto’s place, the Reds have recalled outfielder Aristides Aquino from Double-A Pensacola. It’ll be the big league debut for the 24-year-old Aquino, who is batting .249/.313/.452 with 18 homers, 19 doubles and a pair of triples in 416 plate appearances in his second go-around at the Double-A level. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com rank Aquino 16th among Reds prospects, touting his plus-plus arm in right field, strong defense and above-average power. There are concerns about Aquino’s hit tool, though he’s cut his strikeout rate from 28.7 percent in 2017 to 24.7 percent in 2018.