Was Joey Votto Even Gone from the Cincinnati Reds?

June 2nd, 2010 by Will Frasure Leave a reply »

When Joey Votto had to sit out five games because of neck stiffness, the Reds didn't know exactly how they'd fare without him. The injury at first seemed to be harmless, but then it lingered, forcing Votto sit out until his return last night against St. Louis.

Usually when a team's top player and one of the league's top hitters is out for a prolonged period of time, it would lead to panic. Votto was on a tear before being sidelined and was near the top of the National League in batting average and home runs.

But Miguel Cairo alleviated those fears. The utility man hadn't gotten too much action this season before Votto went down, which caused fears among Reds' fans.

With all the production Votto had given us, how could Cairo possibly have anywhere near the same effect?

Cairo ignored the skeptics and proceeded to shine in his window of playing time. When he substituted for Votto the first time on May 26th, Cairo had a .185 average. A week later, his average was up to .295 after just a short stretch of play.

During the week he substituted for Votto, Cairo batted .429 with a .714 slugging percentage. He blasted two home runs, knocked in three RBIs, and scored an eye-popping eight runs in the six games.

Cairo was a huge factor in the Reds four-game win streak that began against the Pirates. He also played a big role in the team's trouncing of the Houston Astros this weekend, where he went 5-for-9 during Cincinnati's 15-6 and 12-2 wins.

His performance most likely let Votto recover fully from his neck injury. It gave Votto the chance to take a few more games off that he maybe wouldn't have if the Reds hadn't been producing from first base.

And when Votto came back Tuesday against St. Louis, it looked like he was fully recovered. He had a hit in his first at-bat back and then smacked a home run in his second. He ended up going 4-for-5 and was a huge factor in the 9-8 roller coaster win.

So the Votto injury brought about two positive situations.

Cairo's production allowed for Votto to fully recover, allowing him to transition back to the lineup with no trouble.

It also earned Cairo some respect in the clubhouse. Dusty Baker probably won't hesitate to insert the utility man into a game whenever Votto or an outfielder need a break.

The veteran proved he still has some life in him.

This story was originally syndicated from Bleacher Report - Front Page.
Read the original Article Here

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