Joey Votto Injury: Updates on Reds Star's Neck and Return

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured Columnist

Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto reacts after striking out in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Friday, July 3, 2015, in Cincinnati. The Brewers won 12-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was not in the team's lineup Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals due to a neck injury, but he has since returned to action.

Continue below for updates:


Votto Returns vs. Cardinals

Saturday, Sept. 3

The Reds announced Votto is batting third and playing first base against St. Louis.


Votto Has Performed Well for Struggling Reds

Votto has been one of the hottest players in the majors despite a miserable start to his 2016 season. Entering the All-Star break, he was hitting just .252, which was on pace for a career-worst mark. 

But since July 15, he's been red hot, raising his averaging to .309 with 22 home runs and 78 RBI through Friday. ESPN Stats & Info tracked his play through Aug. 23:

Votto has been able to avoid major injuries since he missed 100 games in 2014 with a quadriceps injury.

When healthy, he's Cincinnati's most productive bat. Last year was the sixth time in his career that he hit more than 20 home runs and the fourth time he led the league in walks. 

His bat wasn't enough for a Reds team that was one of the worst in baseball with a 64-98 record in 2015, which was their worst season since a 62-win 1949. This season hasn't gone much better, as the Reds are 57-77 while sitting 29.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.

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There was even more pressure for Votto to produce in 2016 after the Reds dealt Todd Frazier (35 home runs last year) to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason. 

The Reds are already on the wrong side of one of the toughest divisions in baseball, and losing Votto for any amount of time would only have made things worse. Thankfully, they'll have him back for the stretch run as they try to gain some momentum heading into next season. 

   

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com