Shin-Soo Choo, 41, SSG Landers, played with the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, and his close friend and major league run-scoring machine Joey Votto, 40, returned from a long-term injury at the ripe old age of 30 and swung for the fences.
Votto batted 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs in the Reds’ 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Tuesday (Sept. 20), starting in the No. 6 spot in the lineup and leading the Reds to a nine-game winning streak.메이저놀이터
It could have been a normal game for Cincinnati’s signature hitter, but it was Votto’s first game back in nearly 10 months. Votto was lost for the season in mid-August last year when he underwent reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder rotator cuff and biceps.
His rehabilitation was initially expected to last six months, and he appeared to be ready for this year after participating in spring training. However, Votto’s body didn’t cooperate as much as he expected. His rehab was delayed, and he returned four months behind schedule.
In his return, Votto was a shadow of his former self. In his second at-bat of the fifth inning with a 2-1 lead, Votto took Austin Gomber’s 88.1-mph fastball and smashed a solo home run into the top of the right-field bleachers. He showed “class” by hitting a home run in his first game back in 10 months. Cincinnati fans greeted Votto with a standing ovation and it was time for the curtain call.
But a 3-4 deficit in the top of the sixth inning overshadowed Votto’s solo shot. But Votto made sure he was the star of his own comeback festivities. The superstar did not miss his chance to steal the spotlight.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Jonathan India reached on an error by the third baseman, Eli De La Cruz singled to center field, and Spencer Steer walked to put runners on the corners. Votto then took a 95.5-mph sinker from Jake Bard for a two-run double to center field. The score was 5-4, and it stayed that way until the end. Votto had the game-winning hit. He celebrated his comeback.
After the game, Votto told local media, “It’s been a long, hard rehab. In the weeks and months before, everyone had doubts. We have to play the game. But when you have an operation like that, and you’re an older player, it can be dangerous. Tonight is a really good night for me,” he said, “I just got called up, but I came back to compete. That’s my mentality and my attitude to the game. After my debut, I was always hungry,” he said of his performance after a grueling rehabilitation.
It was a comeback that many doubted, but Votto looked like his old self. “It was unbelievable,” said teammate Kevin Newman, “to come back and impact the game like he did. I’ll never forget tonight.”
With Votto’s return, Cincinnati’s nine-game winning streak continued and they moved into sole possession of first place in the National League Central. Votto’s experience and leadership could really help the team gain momentum. This is the final season of the 10-year, $225 million extension he signed in April 2012. He intends to go out with a bang in what could be his final season.
“I dream of playing every day,” he said. I couldn’t hold a bat, I couldn’t practice. But now I don’t think about that. Now I can charge with fury. I’m trying to crush the ball in the batting cage and working on my hitting mechanics. I’m almost there,” he said. “I’m going to adjust my conditioning to get every pitch out, and I’m going to make situational plays like stealing bases. I’m going to run from first to third and try to avoid double plays. I want to be in a Reds uniform until the end of my career.”