Joey Votto's 2023 season continues its disappointing start after the Cincinnati Reds revealed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville Bats has ended after reaching its 20-day limit, according to The Athletic's Trent Rosecrans. The 39-year-old will now head back to Cincinnati as he continues to work his way back from injury.

Votto began the year on the injured list after having shoulder surgery last August. His return timetable remains uncertain, but surely the fans, organization and himself will want to soak up whatever time is left in his illustrious Reds career- which could be done after this season.

The longtime first baseman is best used as a designated hitter at this stage, but could still be a welcome presence on the team. He is only two years removed from hitting 36 home runs and 99 RBIs. When he does officially leave Cincinnati, Votto will be remembered as one of the best players in franchise history, winning the National League MVP in 2010 and earning six All-Star selections.

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He has endured this entire Reds rebuild and would probably like one last chance at a legitimate postseason run. That may not be realistic under the current circumstances, as they have started off to just a 6-8 start. Regardless, a resurgence or championship pursuit cannot be entertained until he makes it back to action.

He batted a concerning .184 in 10 games in Louisville, numbers that do not foretell a player ready to hit Major League pitching. Another season or two could allow Joey Votto to put the finishing touches on a potential Hall of Fame career (.297 batting average, 342 homers, .926 OPS, 64.5 WAR).

Both he and his fans anxiously await that opportunity.