Decked out in a snazzy Dr. Strange jersey for a “Marvel Night” promotion, Joey Votto played the first game of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville tonight. Votto was placed on the COVID-related injured list on May 3, and Reds manager David Bell told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon) that “it’s really hard for me to know” exactly how long Votto’s rehab assignment will last. The veteran slugger will play today and tomorrow for the Bats, and Bell seemed to imply that it could be a somewhat lengthy stint, saying “it was encouraging that he’s playing tonight. Not too long ago, he wasn’t feeling well.”
Sheldon believes Votto could be activated from the IL when the Reds visit his hometown of Toronto on May 20-22. Obviously the top priority is simply that Votto is healthy and can get properly prepared for his return, but this absence could also serve as a reset for the 38-year-old’s season. Pretty much everything has gone wrong for the Reds thus far in 2022, including Votto’s ice-cold .122/.278/.135 slash line over his first 90 plate appearances.
More on other injury situations from around baseball…
- Griffin Canning has spent the entire season on the 60-day IL due to a stress reaction in his lower back, and he felt some discomfort during a recent two-inning simulated game. Angels GM Perry Minasian told reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register) that it’s a relatively minor setback that won’t require any more testing, but Canning is “going to take a little more time with our medical staff in Anaheim and we’ll take it day by day.” June 6 is Canning’s first eligible day to leave the injured list. The 26-year-old (and former top 100 prospect) has a 4.73 ERA over 209 1/3 career innings with the Angels, a tenure highlighted by a Gold Glove in the 2020 season. With the Angels intending to keep their six-man rotation going for the remainder of the year, the Halos will need Canning healthy to provide extra depth in the coming months.
- Austin Meadows has missed the Tigers’ last two games due to what the outfielder described as vertigo-like symptoms and a sensation of spinning. “I don’t know if it’s an infection or just inner ear dizziness,” Meadows told The Detroit Free Press’ Evan Petzold and other reporters. Referring to missing three of four games during a recent series against the Astros, Meadows said “I was pretty sick in Houston. I had a sinus infection, so I don’t know if it’s a residual effect from that, or whatever is it.” On the plus side, Meadows did a normal set of baseball drills prior to today’s game, so he might not be far away from a return. Meadows has hit .270/.365/.350 over 115 PA, good for a 120 wRC+ that is easily the best of any regular in the offensively-challenged Detroit lineup.
- Cubs prospect Ed Howard’s season is in jeopardy after suffering a hip injury in a High-A game earlier this week. While trying to avoid a tag at first base, Howard fell to the ground in awkward fashion and was in obvious pain on the field. Howard and the organization are still trying to determine the next course of action in dealing with the injury, but speaking to The Chicago Tribune’s Meghan Montemurro and other reporters, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer implied Howard’s 2022 campaign was over, saying “It’s a shame that his season is going to be cut short.” The 20-year-old shortstop was the 16th overall pick of the 2020 draft, and is currently ranked 14th by MLB Pipeline and 18th by Baseball America on the pundits’ lists of the top prospects in Chicago’s farm system. Howard’s bat is still a work in progress, but Pipeline cites him as “one of the best defenders in the entire minors.”