Will Joey Votto be a surprise addition to the Reds Opening Day roster?

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

Any other year, Joey Votto's name would be written in permanent ink near the top the manager's lineup card on Opening Day. But for the first time in his career, the Cincinnati Reds star is returning from a major injury and his status entering the 2023 season has been rather mysterious.

Votto hasn't set foot onto the diamond for a Cactus League game all spring, but the 39-year-old did appear in a minor league game on Saturday. Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Votto went game-speed without limitations.

Is this a precursor to Votto actually getting reps in a major-league spring game? Will the former MVP be good to go come March 30th versus the Pittsburgh Pirates? The clock is ticking.

Will Joey Votto be a surprise addition to the Reds Opening Day roster?

Calling Joey Votto a surprise addition to the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster seems like a bit of joke, doesn't it? But to be fair, Votto has left almost everyone in the dark this spring and even Reds manager David Bell has been very noncommittal about Votto's availability to start the 2023 season.

Votto had a down-year in 2022. In fact, this was the fourth time in five years that Votto's production has been below what's expected. Outside of a resurgence in 2021, Votto's numbers have been rather pedestrian.

The hope is that, with this lingering shoulder now behind him, Votto will be able to return to his All-Star form. Of course, very few players are able to even make it to their age-39 season much less return to their glory years.

The good news is that with Joey Votto taking reps and being full-go for a minor-league game, it won't be long before the six-time All-Star is back on the field for Cactus League games this spring. If Votto can get a week's worth of games against major league pitching, it may be enough to see him added to the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster.

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