Votto undergoes season-ending rotator cuff surgery

August 19th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- Six-time Reds All-Star underwent season-ending surgery to repair his torn left rotator cuff on Friday.

“Joey this morning had successful surgery to repair his left rotator cuff and bicep," said Reds GM Nick Krall. "The surgery was a little more than expected. The injury definitely limited the use of his left shoulder and affected his performance, but we expect he will be able to participate in Spring Training and be ready for the 2023 season.”

Manager David Bell said both the team and Votto are already looking forward to next Spring Training, when they expect the first baseman to return to action.

"He’s a pretty tough guy to play through it," Bell said Friday. "... What players play through, it’s not normal. A lot of players do it. Joey’s pain tolerance is really high. He loves to play the game, so guys like that, they’re going to play through a lot to be able to do it.

Votto said Wednesday he believes the initial injury may date back to the 2015 season, but he had been able to play through the discomfort up until this season.

“Only the past maybe three months or so has it been painful to the point where it’s difficult to lift [and] hurts to sleep,” he said. “I’m not sure it’s affected my performance. … I can’t say that. I don't want to make an excuse.”

Votto received an MRI after the team’s latest road trip and said he wasn't surprised by the result, but he was surprised by the feedback he received advising him to undergo surgery.

“I’ve tried to strength train it, and it didn't work,” he added.

In 91 games this season, Votto batted .205 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs. He has one year left on his contract, plus a team option for '24.

"I know that he’ll be in good hands and he has to heal and all that, but I’m sure he’s going to work really hard to get back next year," Bell said. "I know he’s already thinking that way and excited about it, and I am, too."

The Reds used Matt Reynolds as first baseman on Wednesday as the initial replacement for Votto; it was Reynolds' second career start at the position. However, it's not likely he will get many reps at the position. The team reinstated Mike Moustakas from the injured list in the minimum 10 days required after he landed on it with a left calf strain, and he was in the lineup in Friday's series opener vs. the Pirates at first base. Donovan Solano has also taken ground balls at first recently.

"We’ll still have other guys working there and being ready to play there," Bell said. "I do think just the way this worked out and the timing of coming back today, there’s a window to let Moose play and get into the flow of playing."