What's next for Joey Votto after returning from rehab assignment?

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Joey Votto is back; well, not exactly. The six-time All-Star returned from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Saturday, but was not activated. Votto will continue to do his rehab in Cincinnati.

It's easy to jump to conclusions with this type of news. While some will point out that his rehab assignment was nearing its end, Votto still had until April 20th to complete that assignment. That would have given him three or four games in the minors.

Fans are now left to wonder what's next for Joey Votto. The former NL MVP is returning from major surgery, and his results with the Louisville Bats were less than stellar. In 10 games, Votto hit just .184 with six walks and 21 strikeouts.

What's next for Joey Votto after returning from rehab assignment?

On the surface, many fans might view this as a step in the right direction. But I'm not as optimistic. We just saw Tony Santillan returned from his rehab assignment because of setback. The Cincinnati Reds reliever will be re-evaluated for a knee injury.

Does this latest news mean that Joey Votto suffered a setback as well? Perhaps. He is returning from major surgery after undergoing a procedure to repair a torn rotator cuff last August.

The Reds have options. As it was mentioned, Votto can simply continue to rehab with the club and very well could be activated a few days from now. Perhaps that 10-game stay at Triple-A was all he needed. But at 55.2-percent strikeout-rate says otherwise.

Votto has maintained that he plans to return to the form that made him a star in this league. Otherwise, the 39-year-old may well hang up his cleats and retire. That seems unlikely at this stage of the season as well. The Reds are just 14 games in to a 162-game season. There's plenty of time left for Votto to get back on the field.

For now, it's a wait and see game. Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with Reds manager David Bell after the game, and the skipper hadn't yet spoken to Votto about the plan moving forward.

Joey Votto is in the final guaranteed year of his contract extension. Votto will be paid $25-million this season and has $20-million team-option with a $7-million buyout for the 2024 season as well.

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