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Votto 'totally fine' after exiting with back stiffness

Senzel, Peraza escape 1st-inning collision unscathed
@m_sheldon
June 12, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Serving as the designated hitter vs. the Indians during a 7-2 victory Wednesday, Reds first baseman Joey Votto had to leave the game in the fifth inning because of mid-back stiffness. After the game, Votto said he was OK. “Yeah. Totally fine,” said Votto, who returned to the

CLEVELAND -- Serving as the designated hitter vs. the Indians during a 7-2 victory Wednesday, Reds first baseman Joey Votto had to leave the game in the fifth inning because of mid-back stiffness.

After the game, Votto said he was OK.

“Yeah. Totally fine,” said Votto, who returned to the bench and watched the last couple of innings following his exit.

Josh VanMeter pinch-hit for Votto with two on and two outs in the top of the fifth and struck out after almost hitting his first big league homer. The ball hooked foul in right field.

Votto was 1-for-2 with a solo home run, which came in the top of the first inning. It was the fourth time in his career that he started a game as Cincinnati's DH.

“It just came up after the home run,” Votto said of the back pain.

He grounded out to second base during the third inning in his second at-bat.

On April 20-21, while the Reds were at San Diego, Votto missed two games with the same injury. According to the 35-year-old, he hasn’t been dealing with the issue since.

“We were able to treat it and get back on the field as soon as possible,” Votto said. “I feel the two of them are very similar.”

Votto is batting .257/.345/.394 with six home runs and 15 RBIs this season. But over his last 14 games (since May 24), he’s hitting .397 (23-for-58).

Disaster averted

There was an injury scare for Cincinnati in the bottom of the first inning when center fielder Nick Senzel and second baseman Jose Peraza collided after leadoff hitter Francisco Lindor popped the ball up behind second base. As Senzel ran in, Peraza was running out, and the two hit each other as Senzel made the catch.

Both players were down for several moments and looked over by the trainers and manager David Bell. However, no one had to leave the game.

“Right off the jump, you can’t call it, because obviously you don’t know if you can catch it. Then when you’re going for it, you call him off. It was just too late,” Senzel said. “At least we didn’t hit each other head-on. I kind of hit the side of him.”

Senzel’s elbow hit Peraza in the side of the head. Senzel’s right ankle came away hurting, the same one that he sprained during Spring Training and caused him to miss a few weeks.

“I sprained two ligaments pretty bad before the season. I have it taped,” Senzel said. “The tape helped, for sure. If I didn’t have the tape, I would not be doing good.”

Just before Votto hit his homer, Senzel opened the game with his own long ball against Indians starter Zach Plesac. The Reds felt fortunate that no one was seriously injured.

“That play can be scary because they were both going after the ball, and it's tough to keep your focus on the ball. ... They did a pretty good job of avoiding each other, at least enough to where it wasn't serious, but it could have been,” Bell said of Senzel and Peraza. “They both wanted to stay in the game. I was concerned running out there. As it turns out, they're both going to be fine. So, we got lucky there.”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.