There was only 1 way Christian Encarnacion-Strand was going to make the Reds Opening Day roster

Cincinnati Reds prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand
Cincinnati Reds prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

Look, I'm as excited as you are to see Christian Encarnacion-Strand make his major league debut. But the Cincinnati Reds made the correct call reassigning the 23-year-old to minor-league camp on Tuesday afternoon.

This was always the plan. Always! No matter how well Encarnacion-Strand played during spring training, his season was going to begin in the minors.

Now, I was a bit surprised that the decision to send Encarnacion-Strand back to minor-league camp was made so soon, but this is a sign that Joey Votto will not begin the 2023 on the Injured List and instead will be in the Reds Opening Day lineup.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand was not going to make the Reds Opening Day roster.

Joey Votto appeared in his second spring game on Tuesday night. After appearing in two minor league games over the weekend, Votto has now taken the field in four of the last five days. Votto, who's hitless in his five at-bats this spring, also played first base on Tuesday night versus the Kansas City Royals.

The only way that Christian Encarnacion-Strand was going to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster was if Joey Votto didn't. Period! Now, that doesn't mean that as the 2023 season progresses you won't see both players on the roster at the same time, but to start the season, the Reds went in a different direction.

Encarnacion-Strand has put himself in perfect position to be the first prospect called up to the big leagues in 2023. While there has been a fair amount of talk about Matt McLain and a lot of noise surrounding Elly De La Cruz, if Encarnacion-Strand keeps hitting at Triple-A, it won't be long until he makes his way to The Show.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand did enough to warrant a spot on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day, but the timing just didn't work out. With Spencer Steer getting an extended look at third base and both Joey Votto and Tyler Stephenson seeing time at first base, it was inevitable that Encarnacion-Strand's 2023 season would begin in the minors.

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