Cincinnati Reds: Should Joey Votto Play in the World Baseball Classic?

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Cincinnati Reds: Should Joey Votto Play in the World Baseball Classic?
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto announced today that he will be playing for Team Canada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (per MLB.com).

This announcement comes after a long deliberation process that started when Votto was added to Team Canada's roster just prior to the deadline for roster submission (per MLB.com).

Many will question Votto's choosing to play in the event as he looks to return from a mid-season knee injury which robbed him of his power and caused him to miss 49 games in the middle of 2012.

But is it justifiable?

Votto is three-time All-Star, a former MVP and a Gold Glove Award winner surrounded by a wonderful medical staff led by Dr. Timothy Kremchek.

If there was any chance that Votto could re-injure his surgically repaired knee, the Reds' medical staff wouldn't allow him to compete, much like they did with Johnny Cueto (per ESPN.com).

Many of the detractors to Votto's participation in the event will claim that re-injuring his knee is a major concern for Votto, but that is a largely unfounded claim.

The last time Votto participated in the World Baseball Classic he appeared in two games and had just nine at-bats (per web.worldbaseballclassic.com).

It's highly unlikely that nine at bats will facilitate another injury and barring Votto from playing in the 2013 WBC would have been a serious mistake on the Reds part.

Votto takes great pride in representing his country during this event.

During his press conference to announce his participation in the event, Votto stated:

I look forward to being a part of the tournament. I had a great time the last time. I’m very grateful I’m on the team. It’s not very often you get to represent your country in a big tournament like this. I never got to play in the Olympics, this is the next best thing.

By allowing Votto to play in the 2013 WBC, they are allowing him to do something he loves and that could be more beneficial than the games he would play in the Cactus League.

Furthermore, Votto could take a strong performance in the WBC and translate that momentum into a strong performance with the Reds.

Depending on Team Canada's performance, Votto could return to the Reds as soon as March 11th. Team Canada is is unlikely to advance beyond the second round which, for them, could end as soon as March 13th.

Should Joey Votto participate in the World Baseball Classic?

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In the unlikely event that the Canadiens advance to the finals, Votto would rejoin the team in just 15 days (per web.worldbaseballclassic.com).

His participation in the WBC will not cause him any setbacks, nor is it likely to cause an injury.

Votto knows better than anybody whether he is physically ready to play in the WBC.

If he truly feels ready, then who would the Reds—or anyone else for that matter—be to say otherwise?

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