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Paul Daugherty wants Joey Votto to play hurt

Jun 7, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds - Game Two Getty Images

When people say things like, “I’m not a doctor, but…” it’s usually followed up by medical advice you should 100 percent never follow. That’s applicable in Paul Daugherty’s latest column for the Cincinnati Enquirer in which he criticizes Votto for taking too long to recuperate from his strained quadriceps.

Slagging Votto isn’t new for Daugherty. Just on this site, we have covered him slagging reliever Aroldis Chapman, starter Homer Bailey, and Votto on multiple occasions, even going so far as to say Brandon Phillips is better. So what’s the offense this time? Daugherty writes:

We outsiders don’t know much. We who aren’t doctors aren’t qualified to comment on the extent of an injury, or on anyone’s pain or ability to withstand it. That’s speculation, and that’s not fair.


We only know what we see. Here’s what I see:

Daugherty then recounts Mike Leake and Jay Bruce playing through injuries. Likely as a result of his stiff neck, Leake has been ineffective as of late, allowing five runs to the Giants on Thursday, and four to the Diamondbacks in his previous start. Bruce entered this afternoon’s game against the Phillies with a .440 OPS in 46 plate appearances since returning from the disabled list after undergoing knee surgery. Who cares about effectiveness as long as you’re toughing it out like a true Team Player?

Daugherty goes on:

To be clear: Votto didn’t want to go on the disabled list. Price says he’s the one responsible for keeping Votto on the mend, instead of in the lineup. And Votto’s durability isn’t suspect: He played in all 162 last year, and in 161 two years before that. But how healthy is healthy enough, and when does Votto get there?

Believe what you want. I believe if Votto insisted on playing, he would be playing. Superstars call shots everywhere, even in little places like Cincinnati. A manager is not going to say no to that guy, nor should he. Especially when the guy in question is as valuable as Votto is.

At least Daugherty has changed his tune on Votto’s value, having called Phillips the Reds’ MVP instead of Votto last July, citing RBI and batting average with runners in scoring position. Daugherty essentially calls both Votto and manager Bryan Price liars based on a gut feeling.


Like it or not, the sports ethos is to play with pain. Teammates respect it, owners expect it. It’s almost a given. Pain is in the contract. Even in early June, few players are in perfect health. By August, no one is.

Categorically incorrect on multiple levels. Where is this ethos? Why is there a disabled list? If Votto played hurt and was consequently ineffective — like teammate Bruce — Daugherty would be the first penning a column complaining that Votto was selfish and caring only about his individual stats, and that he should have thought about the team first by going on the disabled list.

Playing through an injury is almost always a bad idea. Athletes will overcompensate for their weakness in one area by over-exerting in another area, which puts them at an increased risk of further injuring themselves. Their performance declines. Opponents know how to take advantage of an injured player. For instance, with a quadriceps injury, Votto won’t be able to generate as much power with his legs, so pitchers will be much more willing to pitch him inside and over the plate than usual.

It’s not clear what Daugherty’s motive is for all of these hit pieces against Votto. Maybe Votto was rude to him once, or he’s playing to the lowest common denominators in the Reds fan base. What is clear is that his criticism of Votto over the last few years has been almost entirely baseless and at this point it seems obsessive. Also, as a rule of thumb, writers or fans who criticize an athlete’s pain threshold should be required to present a history of all the times they called out of work or missed school due to a tummy ache.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jun 7, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    There are a lot of teams that would love to trade for Votto. How about Lind for Votto straight up? The Jays would do that even if Votto was hurt.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jun 7, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    It is time to send Votto home to Toronto. Lind for Votto is on the table. How about it?

    • raysfan1 - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      As a Rays fan, I hate that idea. Votto for Loney however….

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        We agree that Votto must be set free. As far as his destination is concerned, I have to remind you that he is from Toronto.

      • raysfan1 - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:18 PM

        Based on all the Ontario license plates that can be found all over Florida every winter, he’ll feel right at home in Tampa!

    • thomas844 - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      Give us Encarnacion back.

      • jm91rs - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        So he can throw the ball into the ball from 3rd into the first base dug out? I’m glad he’s finally living up to his potential, but there’s no place for him on a national league team.

      • thomas844 - Jun 8, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        I don’t care how bad his defense is, the Reds need offense and they need it badly.

  3. tfbuckfutter - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Every contract I draw up includes a “pain” provision.

    Then as soon as the person signs I stab them with the pen.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      A poison pen?

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        Of course not.

        I’m not a psycho.

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        Oh? But a Red Sox fan nevertheless.

  4. contraryguy - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Doc knows he has to agitate or become irrelevant. Same column, different day.

    Meanwhile the Reds medical staff continues to get a free pass amid questions about how player injuries are reported and handled. Even dim bulb Thom Brennaman was on their case during today’s telecast, but the questions always seem to fall on deaf ears.

  5. Old Gator - Jun 7, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    I would like to see Votto beat the living crap out of Paul Daugherty, and then see how well Daugherty can write garbage hurt.

  6. thomas844 - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    Being a Cincy guy, it’s hard to read any stories by the media here, because most of them are incredibly negative and critical of this team and its players. It’s not just this season while they have struggled, but it even happened in previous years when they were winning the division! While a lot of the things Brandon Phillips has said about reporters got too brash, I have to at least be thankful that someone has said something about the negativity of Cincinnati’s media.

  7. metalhead65 - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Votto has been playing hurt since he came back from knee surgery whether he or the reds will admit it or not. he has not had the same power since than injury and to accuse him of not playing in pain is just plain stupid. he may not have the same power but he can still see and hit the ball. why take a chance on him not being able to do what he does best if he is not completely healthy especially when this season is lost? you idiots calling for him to traded are out of luck 1 because he means to much to the team and 2 who is going to take on his contract? plus I would not trust jocketty to get anything close to value for him if he could trade him. he would probably trade him and hamilton to the angels for pujols if he could given his affinity for ex cardinals.

  8. andreweac - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Clown column bro.

  9. coachbeck - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    Paul Daugherty is a tool. Has always been. I wish he would just leave Cincy.

  10. blacksables - Jun 8, 2014 at 5:45 AM

    Great post, Bill. You call out a writer for playing doctor, then claim Leake is ineffective, mostly like due to his neck strain.

    Can you post a picture of your medical degree, that allows you to make such a spot-on diagnosis, without ever examining the patient?

    It’s amazing the way you call out other people for being hack writers.

    • Old Gator - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      More amazing how you sit in your barn weaving straw men out of what Bill didn’t write in the first place. Here, he points out that Daugherty was the one who noted Leake was pitching through an injury, and then Bill notes that if he is, he’s not being very effective in the process. But I guess anything works if it gives you a specious excuse to take a cheap shot.

      • blacksables - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        What are you going to do? Threaten to kick my ass? Invite violence?

        You are a disturbing old man, with no value to the community at all.

        You are sad and pathetic.

        Why don’t you just fade into oblivion and leave the world at peace.

      • blacksables - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        It’s amazing how Craig bans other commentors for less egregious comments, but lets you get away with anything.

        Please come back with your “Frito Bandito” shtick.

        It always makes you sound like the moron that you are.

      • Old Gator - Jun 8, 2014 at 2:12 PM

        Tsk, tsk. Can’t tell the difference between the Frito Bandito and Jose Jimenez – much less a between Mexican patois or a Caribbean one?

        Ah, you’re so young.

        Then again, I guess the “Teflon Frito Bandito” does have a unique sueno to it. But for the sake of educating you, no mean task I’m sure, Caribbean Hispanics don’t eat Fritos very much. They eat chicarrones, or fried pork rinds. So, I guess that would make me the Chicharron ladrón. See if you can get it right next time.

        Tell you what, though – since you’re obviously in a state of agitation, and who can tell if you woke up like that or just ate something this morning that inflamed your extra Y chromosome, I’ll make you a great offer. If you can find an example of my threatening to ‘kick someone’s ass,’ threatening physical violence against anyone or seriously wishing anyone ackcherl harm on here, I’ll buy you one of those Taco Bell Frito Burritos or their new Frito Sliders. If you’re not going to know what you’re talking about, you might as well know what it tastes like. Weaving so many straw men must work up a hell of an appetite.

        If Fritos don’t really appeal to you, of course, and you were only using them as a lens for focusing and amplifying bile, I can go out tonight in my neenja suit and steal some chicharrones for you, too.

  11. 4cornersfan - Jun 8, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    And we expect you guys at HBT to blog through the paper cuts and eyestrain. No more days off because you burned your tongue from the coffee, either. Suck it up!

  12. jm91rs - Jun 8, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    No one would touch votto’s contract right now. He needs to get healthy, he was having a miserable year by his high standards. I will agree that the latest injury has been odd just because we don’t hear much, but I think votto and the team are tired of blaming his lack of power on the knee so they maybe hesitant to declare him 100%. If it’s up to me I’ll tell votto to take the rest of the year off. Without the knee strength he’s not the same guy (still a good on base guy but if he can’t swing te bat pitchers might attack him differently). Let him rest and build up the strength on a year when the reds aren’t going anywhere.

    Ps, doc is just doing his thing. He gets paid to say inflammatory things.

  13. adenzeno - Jun 8, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Duda and Tejada for Votto!!

  14. yahmule - Jun 8, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Paul has a high threshold for other people’s pain.

  15. zackd2 - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Bravo sportswriter, your page will now receive more ‘guest appearances’ to add to your resume.
    Bravo editor, you allow this to be published and you can tell your bosses you increased page traffic.
    Bravo media and listeners, thanks for creating the ‘shock jock’ culture that allows people to say crazy things just for ratings.

  16. wpjohnson - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Votto would have never made it in the 1950s. Can anyone picture Ted Kluszewski sitting out with minor injuries? Back then, you taped it up, took an aspirin, and took the field. Votto is much like most in this day and age- coddled.

    • gonz - Jul 10, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      Except Klu didn’t live in an era of free agency and lucrative contracts. Players today are seen more as investments.

  17. snowrooster - Jun 9, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Bill, you are a moron. You don’t know squat about Joey Votto and his injury – Doc is 100% correct. Votto is a great player, but he’s a cream puff. His injury is crap – when the going gets tough Joey Votto takes a break. He is physically a great ball player but mentally weak. Perhaps you recall him going on the DL in 2009 due to depression? Doc is 100x the writer you ever dreamed of being.

  18. brianpmangan - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    And this guy – Paul Dougherty – gets PAID to write this. Can you believe it?

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