Time to shut Votto down for season?

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy knows a thing or two about our nation’s pastime. To tap into that knowledge, send an email to halmccoy1@hotmail.com.

Q: Have you heard of the conspiracy theory that the St. Louis Cardinals sent General Manager Walt Jocketty to the Cincinnati Reds to make no moves and enhance the Cardinals’ chances of winning the National League Central? — DAVE/Miamisburg/Centerville/Beavercreek.

A: Then why didn’t they send him to Milwaukee or Pittsburgh? Reds CEO Bob Castellini once owned a piece of the Cardinals, so did they send him to Cincinnati, too? If you can come up with something like the Zapruder film I might consider it.

Q: Have we seen the last of Joey Votto this season? — MARK/Batavia.

A: Joey who? Wasn’t Joey Votto a cousin to Tony Soprano? Or wasn’t he an Italian crooner? Or does he run a pizza joint down the street? I remember a Joey Votto winning the MVP in 2010 but haven’t heard much from him since. And that’s because of injuries. It doesn’t seem the Reds are contenders, not even for a wild card. If they aren’t back in it by September I’d just shut down Votto for the rest of the season and get him healthy for 2015.

Q: The umpire rules an infielder trapped a line drive, but he throws to first base in a bang-bang play and the runner is called out. The manager appeals and the out call is reversed and the runner is safe. Can the other manager then challenge that the ball was caught and not trapped? — LUKE/Lexington, Ky.

A: Man, you did some deep thinking on his one, didn’t you? Yes, the trap call can be challenged. There is no rule that says both managers can’t issue a challenge on the same play. And that’s another reason I say the whole challenge mishmash is absurd. They say they are going to evaluate the challenge system after the season and here’s hoping they say, “Wow, what a waste of time.”

Q: Do you think it is more likely that the National League adopts the DH or that the American League gets rid of it? — SPENCER/Hamilton.

A: My fondest wish is that the American League would get rid of it, but it is part of the collective bargaining agreement and the Players Association won’t let that happen. My guess is we’ll see the DH in the National League for the 2017 season when a new labor contract is approved. Then National League managers can take naps in the dugout.

Q: What caused Homer Bailey to go on the disabled list? — JOSH/Dayton.

A: Nobody is certain, but they suspect he strained his flexor mass running the bases and it didn’t happen on the mound. Right about now the Reds probably are wishing the National League had the DH so Bailey wouldn’t have been running the bases. It is also why I shudder every time they send Mike Leake to be a pinch-runner. Why tempt fate? I also wonder how long it will be before we see Aroldis Chapman, on a day he can’t pitch, sprint out to run the bases because, believe it or not, they say he can outrun Billy Hamilton.

Q: What Reds starting pitcher do you see being traded in the off-season? — BOBBY/Dayton.

A: If I’m general manager, and God forbid I’m not, I don’t trade any. Starting pitching is the team’s strongest facet and there isn’t much behind them in the minors in the near future. Yes, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman can become free agents after next year, but there is no reason to trade any of them this winter. If the Reds are not contending at the trade deadline next year, then I can see somebody like Latos or Leake traded. But why hurry?

Q: Do you think the Reds have any leadership and mental toughness? — MICHAEL/Fort Thomas, Ky.

A: Leadership and mental toughness are tough terms to define. Everybody always says good teams have leadership and mental toughness and bad teams don’t. That’s simplistic. Teams win with talent. If you don’t have it, all the leadership and mental toughness you can muster isn’t going to help you win. Most leadership is done on the field by playing hard and producing. Give me base hits with runners in scoring position and you can have all the mental toughness you want.

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