Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who looked to be a favorite for the NL MVP award this year before meniscus surgery in July, has been activated from the DL by the Reds, and will apparently start tomorrow for the team.
The Reds, who had a 50-38 record after Votto's last game on July 15th, haven't missed a beat without their All-Star first baseman. The team has rolled to a 32-16 record, and are now 8.5 games up in the NL Central on the Cardinals. With Votto out, Todd Frazier has gotten a majority of the starts at first base. In 36 games at first this year, Frazier has an .894 OPS with seven doubles and six homers. Frazier has also gotten time at third base in place of the injured Scott Rolen, and has outperformed him vastly over the course of the season, though Rolen has raked in July and August.
There is no doubt that Votto's return from the DL makes the Reds a much better team, but the offense has been just fine without him. Now, Dusty Baker will be left with an interesting decision when it comes to Rolen and Frazier. Frazier, who might be the front-runner for the NL Rookie of the Year award, needs to play every day. But what about Rolen, who has been hitting like he's 27 as opposed to 37 over the last two months. It's a great problem for Baker to have, and it will be fascinating to see how he rotates the trio of Frazier, Rolen, and Votto to get them all regular playing time.