Reds star Joey Votto ejected early in loss to Cardinals in possible final MLB game

Joey Votto, 40, has spent his entire 17-season career with the Reds and has been ejected 15 times

Joey Votto didn’t last very long in what might've been the last game of his career.

The longtime Cincinnati Reds star was ejected in the first inning of his team's 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

Votto, who received a large standing ovation when he stepped up to the plate, struck out on a foul ball during his first at-bat at Busch Stadium. Before the top of the next inning started, however, Votto came back onto the field with Reds manager David Bell to argue with umpire Shane Livensparger.

Although the conversation was relatively calm as far as ejections go, Votto was tossed. He walked calmly off the field, ending his day after just an inning.

Votto took to social media after his ejection to apologize to fans.

Votto has been ejected 15 times in his career. Tyler Stephenson replaced him at first base.

With the game, Votto wrapped up his 17th season in Major League Baseball. He has spent his entire career with the Reds. He hit .203 and had 42 hits and 38 RBI in 64 games this season. The six-time All-Star and former NL MVP didn’t make his debut until mid-June while recovering from left biceps and rotator cuff surgery this past offseason.

Reds veteran Joey Votto was ejected from the game against the Cardinals on Sunday. (Jeff Curry/USA Today)
Reds veteran Joey Votto was ejected from the game against the Cardinals on Sunday. (Jeff Curry/USA Today) (USA Today Sports / reuters)

Votto is in the last year of a 10-year, $225 million deal with the Reds. It’s unclear if the 40-year-old will opt to retire or play again next season. He holds a .294 batting average with 356 home runs and 1,144 RBI in his career. The Reds have a club option for the 2024 season on Votto's deal worth $20 million. A decision on his future, per's Mark Sheldon, is expected after the World Series.

The Reds, despite a Nick Martini solo home run in the first, dropped a second straight game to end their season. They finished with an 82-80 record and missed the playoffs for a third straight season. They’ve been to the postseason just once in the past decade.

The Cardinals missed the playoffs for the first time in five years after finishing last in the NL Central. They had their first losing record since 2007.