Joey Votto does exactly what you'd expect in return vs. Reds' minor league affiliate

Joey's back (sort of).

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Joey Votto
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Joey Votto / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Longtime Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto finally got back onto the field this season as he began a rehab assignment with the Dunedin Blue Jays — Toronto's Low-A affiliate. Votto previously played two games for the Blue Jays' Florida Complex League team last week, going 0-for-4 with a walk.

This week, the six-time All-Star's rehab assignment was moved to Low-A Dunedin, and it just so happens that his first action came against the Daytona Tortugas — the Cincinnati Reds' minor league affiliate.

Unsurprisingly, Votto was 0-for-1 with a walk during his first action for Dunedin before being lifted for pinch hitter Christian Feliz in the fifth inning. Until last week's rehab assignment in the FCL, Votto had been out of commission with an ankle injury that he suffered during spring training.

Joey Votto unsurprisingly drew a walk vs. Reds' minor league affiliate

During his 17-year career with the Reds, Votto was known for his ability to read the strike zone well and draw walks. Votto led the league in free passes on five separate occasions and seven times was the league-leader in on-base percentage. Reds fans will remember the saying - if Votto didn't swing, it wasn't a strike.

Votto and the Reds parted ways this past offseason after Cincinnati chose not to exercise his team-option. Votto's skills had begun to decline over time and the Reds felt that offering Votto $20 million to serve as a bench player was an unwise investment.

Votto lingered on the free agent market for quite some time, and there were some observers who assumed that he may not find a landing spot. But just before spring training closed, Votto inked a minor-league deal with his hometown Blue Jays. In his first at-bat of Grapefruit League play, Votto smashed a home run, but injured his ankle after tripping over a bat upon his return to the dugout.

The Reds initially turned to Christian Encarnacion-Strand to take over at first base, but the young slugger has been injured for much of the 2024 season. Cincinnati has been relying on a combination of Jeimer Candelario and Spencer Steer at first base of late.

Votto is attempting to prove that he still has something left in the tank. After the recent departures of Cavan Biggio and Daniel Vogelbach, the Jays are light on left-handed hitters, meaning there may be an opening for Votto if he can prove that he's healthy. At almost 41 years of age, that's a tall task. Votto only hit .204/.317/.394 during his final two seasons in Cincinnati.

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