Votto back from IL; Reds option Peraza

August 27th, 2019

MIAMI -- The Reds activated first baseman from the 10-day injured list on Tuesday and optioned infielder to Triple-A Louisville.

Votto, who was in the starting lineup and batting second against the Marlins, last played on Aug. 14. The following day, he suffered a lower back strain while taking a batting-practice swing. He wasn’t placed on the IL until Aug. 18.

Over 113 games entering Tuesday, the 35-year-old Votto was batting .262/.352/.410 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs. He made adjustments to his batting approach during the second half, which included a more upright stance and no longer choking up on the bat.

But favoring his back wasn’t an issue that slowed Votto’s production in what’s been a subpar year.

“It was the second-to-last swing before, so as far as affecting me, not at all. It wasn’t anything that felt like a wear-and-tear thing or accumulation of things,” Votto said. “It was just a one-off sort of thing that required rest and a little bit of rehab. This has happened to me in the offseason before and maybe a couple of times when I was younger, but almost never.

“It usually takes about five days for it to go away and a few days to get back into baseball shape, because I’ve been sitting around for the past week. It’s hard to get right back into it. It took five, six, seven days for it to subside when I didn’t do any baseball activity. I’ve been near 100 percent the last few days, and I’m ready to play today.”

Peraza the odd man out

Cincinnati plans on bringing Peraza back up after rosters expand Sunday. But under the rules, barring an injury on the big league club, he isn’t eligible to return until Sept. 6.

Getting sent down is the latest disappointment for the 25-year-old, who hasn’t played in the Minor Leagues since 2016. Peraza led the Reds last season with 157 games played and also in hits, doubles and at-bats.

“Jose, we know what kind of player he is,” Reds manager David Bell said. “More than anything, he’s not getting playing time right now as much as he needs. It’ll give him an opportunity to go down and play about four or five games.”

In 119 games this season, Peraza batted .237/.284/.346 with six homers and 33 RBIs. He came into Spring Training expected to return as the starting shortstop, but an injury to second baseman Scooter Gennett at the end of camp activated a chain of events.

First, Peraza was moved to second base and veteran Jose Iglesias took over as the regular shortstop. Peraza struggled at the plate and eventually lost playing time at second -- first to Derek Dietrich, then to Josh VanMeter, then to Gennett after his return. The Reds traded Gennett to the Giants on July 31 to free up playing time at second base, but they claimed Freddy Galvis off waivers from the Blue Jays on Aug. 12, and he’s become the everyday second baseman.

Peraza became a utility player and saw playing time at second base, shortstop, third base, left field and center field. He even appeared as a pitcher in two games.

“I would never tell him to accept that role [as a backup]. He sees himself as an everyday player,” Bell said. “It’s especially tough for a young player, someone we believe is an everyday player and he believes is an everyday player. He’s going to get that opportunity again, I’m sure. This year, there were some things that came up that were kind of unexpected. He was never able to get the long period of extended playing time to get comfortable.”