Joey Votto suffers broken left thumb after being hit by pitch

Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto will miss “weeks” after breaking his left thumb when he was hit by a pitch Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox, manager David Bell announced. The Reds went on to beat the White Sox 1-0.

“It’s part of the game,” Votto said afterward. “I knew I was in pain. I thought I was being a baby. I just wanted to stay in the game, but I didn’t think I could grip the bat and I was having a hard time putting my glove on.”

White Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel hit Votto with a changeup in the bottom of the fourth inning. Votto stayed in the game before leaving in the sixth.

Votto is slashing .226/.305/.425 for the Reds this season with five home runs and 17 RBIs. Cincinnati (14-15) will open a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

What this means for Cincinnati

C. Trent Rosecrans, Reds beat writer: Votto’s numbers aren’t up to his career average right now — he’s hitting .226/.305/.425 — but he’s been hitting the ball hard and already has five homers so far this season. Votto, even at 37, is still the centerpiece of the team’s lineup. He’s hit in the three or four position in the lineup all season.

Who will step up in Votto’s absence?

Rosecrans: Because of Votto’s long-term contract, the Reds haven’t exactly groomed a successor to him at first base, but Mike Moustakas has played first base and the Reds have multiple options at third base. One key to replacing Votto is the imminent return of outfielder Shogo Akiyama, who can play center field in place of Nick Senzel. Senzel was a third baseman in college and in the majority of his minor-league career before being moved to the outfield. He can play third or second, as can Jonathan India. Eugenio Suárez could move back to third base to make room for Kyle Farmer at shortstop. Farmer has played all four infield positions, as has Alex Blandino.

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