Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is out for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Injured Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto might be out for the season, but that didn't stop him from recently walking through the Great American Ball Park stands to take pictures with, talk to and watch a game with fans.
Votto entertained the home crowd for several innings during the Reds' 5-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday in Cincinnati. The six-time All-Star and 2010 National League MVP sported a retro Barry Larkin Reds replica jersey.
Votto walked through dozens of fans and stopped frequently to take selfie-style photos. He later joined Larkin and fellow Reds announcer John Sadak in the broadcast booth.
"I've never walked the stands," Votto said on the Bally Sports Cincinnati broadcast. "And I've always wanted to see what a Reds game is like live. I've always wanted to connect with the fans. And I was able to take a tour of the stadium. And it is, first of all, beautiful. And the fans seem happy to see me. And they were surprised."
"The common theme was the compliments with the jersey," Votto said. "I borrowed this jersey from Tyler Stephenson. Not long ago, you signed it for him. And I don't know -- I felt a real pep in my step wearing this jersey. And took a little tour like I said of the stadium. It was such a great experience.
"So many great places to sit here. It's a beautiful night. I don't know -- I don't know why I did it. But I started it just hoping to say hello. And then I ended up going around the entire stadium -- full experience."
Votto was honored in a pregame ceremony as the Reds' recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, an honor given for community service efforts.
Votto, 39, joined the Reds as a second-round pick in the 2002 MLB Draft. The 16-year veteran hit .205 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs in 91 games this season. Votto underwent shoulder surgery in August and was ruled out of the rest of the season.
The veteran first baseman and designated hitter owns a career .297 average with 342 home runs in 1,991 appearances. He is set to make $25 million next season. The Reds can choose to opt in or out of a $20 million team option for Votto in 2024. That option comes with a $7 million buyout.
The Reds (59-90) will host the Milwaukee Brewers (79-70) at 6:40 p.m. EDT Thursday in Cincinnati. The Brewers are 7.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals (87-63) and sit in second place in the National League Central division. The Reds are in fourth place, behind the Cardinals, Brewers and Chicago Cubs (64-85). The Pittsburgh Pirates are in last, with a 55-94 record.