CINCINNATI - Joey Votto has been officially reinstated from the 15-day DL, and just in time for the Reds to reach 2 million fans in attendance at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds MVP first-baseman was recalled Tuesday from AAA-Louisville after recouping from damaged cartilage in his left knee that required two operations, sidelining him for more than a month.
But not so fast. Votto's rehab games with single-A Dayton and Louisville have been less than promising. The minor league regular season is over, so the fact that Joey is back in Cincinnati may be merely procedural to make sure he's on a roster.
Votto hasn't played in Major League action since July 15, and during his time in the minor leagues, he played two games at Louisville, going 1 for 6, and in three games at Dayton, he went 1 for 5.
Votto says the plate appearances aren't a big deal, but Reds fans can't help but wonder if he's truly ready to return to a full-time first baseman role.
"I felt better [Monday] than I felt two days ago," Votto said. "The at-bats weren't a concern. I know I struck out a couple of times and missed opportunities to run out of the (batter's) box. I just wanted to move around some at first base."
If you're jumping out of your seat to grab last minute tickets to see Votto's triumphant return, you may want to hold off a game or two more. The Reds haven't put him in the lineup for Tuesday night, and there's no reason to expect he will be thrown into the fray right away with how well Todd Frazier has been playing .
At any rate, he'll be back in the Queen City, and just in time as the Reds announced Tuesday that they will reach 2 million in paid attendance this season during their 68th home game Tuesday night, the fastest they've ever reached such a number in GABP history.
If you need a more concrete reason to see the Reds Tuesday night (besides the 82 wins and counting on their record), Bengals Pro Bowl QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green will throw and catch one of the ceremonial first pitches ahead of the Bengals' first game of the NFL regular season on Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
First real pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
In other Reds news and notes: The Reds also recalled from Louisville right-handed pitcher Todd Redmond, right-handed pitcher Pedro Villarreal and left-handed pitcher from AA Pensacola, Tony Cingrani. Cingrani produced the second-lowest ERA among all minor league pitchers who threw at least 100 innings pitched with a 1.73 ERA this season.