MINNEAPOLIS – Joey Votto served a one-game suspension Tuesday because of his "aggressive actions" when he was ejected in the first inning Saturday against the San Diego Padres.
Votto disagreed with the third-base umpire when it was ruled that he swung on a check-swing. After walking toward the visiting dugout along the third-base line, Votto turned around to argue with home-plate umpire Ryan Additon.
Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell tried to stand in front of Votto to prevent an ejection, but it didn’t work. An animated Votto went face-to-face with Additon for a moment and then tried to continue the argument for about 30 seconds.
Votto didn’t comment on what Additon said to him. He was initially handed a two-game suspension, but it was negotiated down to one game.
“The specifics of it, you know, it's not as entertaining if I give you the ins and outs of it,” Votto said Sunday. “It doesn't really matter. Yeah. Nobody really wants to know how fireworks work, right? He was right to throw me out, there's no question about it. We've got to keep the game moving.”
Votto was suspended twice during the 2015 season, once for bumping umpire Chris Conroy and once for “inappropriate actions” after he was ejected from a game.
He was asked Sunday about a potential suspension.
“It has been a while, hasn't it?” Votto said. “Am I worried about getting suspended? If I’m proposed with that, I'll deal with that. I'm not even thinking about that to be honest with you.”
The Reds played with a two-man bench Sunday because of Votto’s suspension and outfielder Scott Heineman was optioned to Triple-A Louisville to make room for Tejay Antone on the 26-man roster.
GRAY DAY SOON: Sonny Gray is scheduled to rejoin the Reds’ starting rotation on June 29 for the series opener against the San Diego Padres next week at Great American Ball Park.
Gray will throw a three-inning rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, and then he will be set to return to the Reds five days afterward. If all starters remain on schedule, he will fill Tony Santillan’s spot in the rotation.
He threw a bullpen session before Monday’s game at Target Field and then he took pitchers fielding practice Tuesday. He practiced covering first base on ground balls to the right side of the infield and sprinting home on a wild pitch.
“I don’t have hesitation with my leg whatsoever anymore,” said Gray, who went on the injured list on June 9 with a right groin strain.
ANTONE RETURNS: Antone was activated from the 10-day injured list Sunday, missing 11 games because of forearm inflammation.
It will take a little bit of time, Antone said, to build back up to multi-inning relief appearances. He threw bullpen sessions Friday and Sunday to prepare for his return.
“It was some inflammation, just took a long time to go down,” Antone said. “It took three days of light throwing and it didn’t really help anything. So, I started to ramp up and it started to get a little bit better. Then I finally got off the mound, felt OK. Took a recovery day, got off the mound again and felt a lot better and then kind of went from there. Just took a little bit more time than I was expecting.”
The toughest part for Antone was knowing that he could’ve helped the bullpen when they struggled in games.
“I want to get out there,” Antone said. “I know we have a lot of really good arms, but I want to be on the field as well. That part of it sucked a lot, but I’m just excited to get back out there.”
REHAB ASSIGNMENT: Reds starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville Tuesday.
Sidelined since May 27, Hoffman will build up as a starter and increase his workload with each rehab start. It’s possible that he could end up in the bullpen when he rejoins the Reds but building up his innings gives the team flexibility when he’s ready to return.
“We don’t want to rush it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It’s part of making sure his shoulder is in good shape, building back up when he gets back. I think the more we build him up, the better off he’ll be and the better off we will be. I think it’ll just put him in a better position to help us.”