Joey Votto's return dooms Christian Encarnacion-Strand's chances of making the Reds roster

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Reds fans are bound to split on the upcoming roster decisions that Cincinnati manager David Bell will be making in the coming weeks. One such decision will involve six-time All-Star Joey Votto and the up-and-coming Christian Encarnacion-Strand.

Votto, who appeared in a minor-league game on Saturday, is back in the lineup for the Reds Cactus League game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon from Goodyear Ballpark.

Votto had been sidelined all spring following shoulder surgery the former MVP underwent last August. While it looked as if Encarnacion-Strand had an outside chance to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, that hope is all but vanished if Votto is fully healthy.

Joey Votto's return dooms Christian Encarnacion-Strand's chances of making the Reds Opening Day roster.

Joey Votto has been around for quite some time. So while he won't have a full slate of Cactus League games to get himself ready prior to the 2023 season, let's not act as though Votto needs a ton of at-bats to get into game-shape.

Votto is batting second today and playing first base. The 39-year-old has stressed all spring his desire to not only be available to hit, but also play the in the field.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand has been the talk of Reds spring training. While Elly De La Cruz had received most of the love from a Cincinnati fanbase who's starved for any glimmer of hope, Encarnacion-Strand has mashed his way into the hearts of Reds Country.

Encarnacion-Strand has played so well this spring that there's hope for the infield prospect to slug his way onto the Reds Opening Day roster. The chances of Encarnacion-Strand doing that were slim prior to Votto being activated for today's game, but the return of the Reds first baseman has all be eliminated any chance of the 23-year-old breaking camp with the big league club.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand, if he continues to hit, will not stay in the minor leagues for long. But having not played above Double-A, there's no reason to rush Encarnacion-Strand to the major leagues if he's not going to receive regular at-bats.

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