By Molly Schramm
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Joey Votto is back and making his spring training debut Sunday.
The 39-year-old has been recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and his left bicep in his arm. Prior to Sunday’s game, Votto played in simulated minor league games Friday and Saturday.
The Reds announced Votto’s return via social media.
If he continues to play in spring training games, it’ll give Votto two weeks before opening day on March 30.
In February, Votto told WCPO he as feeling good months after the season-ending injury.
“I feel like I’m making good progress,” Votto said in a previous interview with WCPO’s Marshall Kramsky. “Every day, I’m taking one step closer to getting back in uniform, playing games, competing.”
Prior to the surgery, Votto was posting the worst batting average of his major league career, hitting just .205 with 41 runs batted in through 91 games. He admitted the season was tough on him.
“I didn’t realize how jacked up my arm and shoulder was at the time,” Votto said. “And before, it was a real struggle because I didn’t feel like I could compete, perform, do the things I was used to doing and it was nice to know it wasn’t my performance, I had some limitations.”
As he participates in spring training, Votto said he’s looking forward to building new relationships as he sees fewer familiar faces in Arizona.
Despite the newer — and younger — faces, Votto said there’s talent on this year’s Reds roster, and he believes they’ll perform better than they have recently.
“Again, a younger group ... (but) we will be in a much better place than in previous years,” Votto said.
WCPO is a content partner of Cox First Media.