Votto plans to return Friday vs. Jays

CLEVELAND — As he prepared to play nine innings at first base in a game that was eventually rained out Wednesday evening for High-A Dayton in the fourth game of his rehab assignment, Reds first baseman Joey Votto provided an update that should please fans in Cincinnati and Toronto — where his club is slated to open a three-game series on Friday.

“I will likely be there Friday,” Votto said via Zoom. “Nothing comes to mind that would keep me from being there Friday. I feel well. I’ve been competing well. I played seven innings yesterday. I’m ready to play.”

A Toronto native, Votto has been on the COVID injured list since May 3, and revealed that he spent more than a week dealing with effects of the illness.

The Reds’ trip to his hometown is not the reason for Votto’s likely activation, however. If he wasn’t ready to play, the 38-year-old noted, he would have stayed on the rehab assignment.

“The timing just worked out,” said Votto, who also contracted COVID-19 during 2021 Spring Training. “If I wasn’t ready, if I ended up taking this time off, five or six days later, I would have missed the series. I just want to come back and perform well. I’ve performed so poorly this season, it’s not something I’m comfortable with or used to.

“Coming back from being on the couch or in bed for eight, nine days, I need to…

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