Cincinnati Needs to Hold Joey Votto Out Until September at the Earliest

Trent ScottAnalyst IIIAugust 12, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 30: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds talks with batting coach Brook Jacoby during the game against the San Diego Padres at Great American Ball Park on July 30, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Votto, on the disabled list since July 16, worked out before the game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds faithful everywhere want Joey Votto back and want him back soon.

But that risks more setbacks like the one Votto suffered earlier this week that forced him to go under the knife for a second time.

Votto obviously wants to be on the field, but rushing him back before he's ready is tantamount to fixing only half the breaks on a car, then watching the other half fail.

A healthy Votto down the home stretch is the Votto Cincinnati needs, not a 75-80 percent Votto that could potentially break down again.

Considering that Votto is not one to let people on to how much he is hurting, the Cincinnati brass should let him know that he should not be playing until September.

As has been the case so far, the team has been fine without him and they’ll continue to be fine without him for the rest of the month.

Between now and the start of September, the Redlegs have six series to play.

Cincinnati begins a seven games in six-day stretch against New York and Chicago, followed by a quick four-game trip to Philadelphia.

The Reds return to Great American Ball Park for a set against St. Louis, before heading off on a six-game southwest swing against Arizona and Houston.

Considering how well they have done since Votto went on the DL, there is no reason to try to rush him.

There are four very winnable series here, one series they would do well to split and one they need to hang their hats on during the stretch to the end of the month.

Considering that several players are not exactly lighting the world on fire at the moment, winning three straight after dropping five in a row is not bad at all.

Drew Stubbs, Zach Cozart and Jay Bruce have all been pretty muted over the last couple of weeks, and yet the Reds are still four-and-a-half games in front of the Pirates and seven games better than the Cardinals.

Should these gentlemen decide to help out the offense a little bit more, there probably would not be any need to panic about a relapse of Votto’s knee.

Remember, the Reds still have the second best record in baseball.

During their 10-game winning streak, and even after their third straight win over the Cubs, the Pirates and Cardinals had to play equally well just to stay in shouting distance of the Reds.

For the Reds to have won three straight and be up as far as they are after a five-game losing streak is pretty substantial. 

As the Reds stumbled briefly, so too will the Cardinals and the Pirates.

As long as they can continue to win series as they have been doing, they’re going to be fine until Votto returns to the field and the batter’s box.

As far as when he should return?

An optimist might point to the third day of September, when the Reds start a three-game series at Great American Ballpark against the Phillies.

More pragmatic persons might say to wait until the following Friday for the series against the Astros.

Cautious fans might want the organization to wait until that series is over and then unleash him against Pittsburgh.

Regardless of when they put him on the field, August should no longer be in the vernacular.