Joey Votto's rocky rehab start sees glimmer of hope after power surge on Friday

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto / Sam Greene / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is three months away from his 40th birthday. Votto's 2023 season has yet to begin following shoulder surgery that has kept him on the IL since last August.

Last weekend, Votto was sent down to Triple-A to begin a rehab assignment with the Louisville Bats. The hope is that Votto can return to that some semblance of the performer that Reds fans saw during the 2021 season in which the former MVP hit .266/.375/.563 with 36 home runs and 99 RBIs.

Votto's initial rehab assignment, which he began in April, was cut short. It was anything but smooth and successful. Votto hit just .184 and posted an OPS of just .605. Votto was also striking out nearly 50-percent of the time.

Joey Votto's rocky rehab start sees glimmer of hope after power surge on Friday.

Joey Votto's high strikeout-rate has really set off alarm bells for the Cincinnati Reds, as the pitching in Triple-A is nowhere near the talent the six-time All-Star will face one he returns to the major leagues.

Not only has Votto fallen short of fans' expectations to bounce back from his injury, but the 39-year-old has looked his age, and is a few steps slow in comparison to the young bucks playing the game down at Triple-A.

Every Reds fans biggest nightmare is that Votto's production continues to take a downward turn and he never even resembles the player that the city of Cincinnati knows and loves.

Joey Votto did, however, return to form during the Louisville Bats 7-3 victory over the Columbus Clippers on Friday night. Votto was 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and a solo homer in the top of the seventh inning.

Votto is destined for a return to Cincinnati in the coming weeks. Will it be Votto's farewell tour once the slugger returns to Great American Ball Park? Votto is in the final guaranteed year of the 10-year extension he signed in 2012.