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Cincinnati Reds Without Joey Votto - Fan's Take

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It's official - something really is wrong with Joey Votto. After injuring his knee while sliding into third base versus the San Francisco Giants on June 29th, Votto never seemed to fully recover. He took a couple of days off, re-entered the lineup, but struggled to regain the level of play that has come to be associated with the Cincinnati Reds first baseman.

Over the last few games, Votto's knee was sore again and he underwent an MRI on Monday, showing that he has a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Votto will have surgery to replace the tear and be out three to four weeks. As pitcher Bronson Arroyo said, "It' terrible news for us, obviously. As it is, he's the cornerstone of our lineup."

Clearly Arroyo is correct - losing Joey Votto for any amount of time is bad news. However this is the kind of thing teams need to be prepared to handle.

Some may ponder that if only he had had the MRI at the time of the injury, the All-Star break could have eaten up some of his downtime. But then would the Reds have swept the St. Louis Cardinals without him? It's all a matter of perspective.

The news could have been much worse. First of all, three to four weeks isn't forever and Votto should be back in plenty of time for the heat of the pennant race. The Reds are also fortunate that they are not facing the toughest of opponents over the next few weeks in the Arizona Diamondbacks (43-46), Milwaukee Brewers (42-47), Houston Astros (34-56), Colorado Rockies (35-54) and the San Diego Padres (36-55). Not to mention that the Reds don't need to make up games as they are already in first place - they only need to maintain.

The Reds have indicated they will announce a roster move today, Tuesday, to help fill in for Votto and they do have some good prospects for this role both on the team already and in the minors. In Votto's first game out, Todd Frazier, currently batting .278, filled in for him at first. Minor league players that may fit the bill include Dioner Navarro, Xavier Paul, and Henry Rodriguez.

Yet the biggest challenge the Reds face with the loss of Joey Votto could be the mental aspect of losing your best player, your leader, your MVP.

Looking at the big picture, this should be merely bump in the road. Votto will be back early next month, they have a break from top notch opponents, and they have others who can fill in as needed on the field. Perhaps the most important thing for the Reds during this time is that THEY believe they can win without Votto. The Reds will need other leaders to rise up both on and off the field to keep the momentum going, so that when Votto does return, they are still strongly rolling down the road towards October.

Mark Sheldon, "Knee surgery to sideline Reds' Votto 3-4 weeks," cincinnati.mlb.com

Reds schedule, reds.com

Regular season standings, mlb.com

Major league baseball stats, reds.com

Lisa is a married mother of two living in the suburbs of Cincinnati . She is a long-time Reds fans yet was away at college when the 1990 Cincinnati Reds won the World Series and was not able to attend games or celebrate appropriately. She looks forward to the day when the Reds win it all again.

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