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Votto adapting to playing with new-look Reds

First baseman misses former teammates as he prepares for spring
MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As the 2016 Reds assembled on Tuesday's full-squad report day and workout, first baseman Joey Votto knew that this Spring Training was unique and a degree of strange.

A few teammates are out, a bunch of new ones are in.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As the 2016 Reds assembled on Tuesday's full-squad report day and workout, first baseman Joey Votto knew that this Spring Training was unique and a degree of strange.

A few teammates are out, a bunch of new ones are in.

"Yeah, it's definitely weird," Votto said. "The guys that were traded were teammates and guys that I played with for a while and friends. That's a weird feeling."

Reds' Spring Training info

Since July, the Reds have traded Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Marlon Byrd, Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman. Brandon Phillips declined a trade using his veto rights. Late Monday night, reports surfaced that right fielder Jay Bruce -- a good friend of Votto's -- could be on the move to Toronto in a three-team trade. On Tuesday morning, that deal was on hold.

"When they traded Aroldis and when they traded Todd, and then the discussions about Brandon, those were all kind of upsetting to my teammates," Votto said. "I'm going to learn all my teammates' names and get to know them and make connections, and we're going to be one squad here. Those guys, I'm going to miss those guys. If anyone else goes, I'll miss those guys."

Video: Jocketty optimistic as Cactus League gets underway

Votto, 32, is prepared to ride the wave of highs (three postseason berths in four seasons from 2010-13) and the lows of the current rebuild. He has eight years and $199 million left on his 10-year contract extension signed before the 2012 season. He also has full no-trade protection.

While others have departed the Reds, Votto was not searching for a parachute. He reiterated his desire to remain with Cincinnati for the long haul.

"I'm not going to buy high -- that's silly. I'm a buy-low guy," Votto said with a laugh. "Why would I zag when everyone is zagging? You've got to zig when everyone is zagging. I think the future of the franchise is headed in the right direction. It's unfortunate to trade away such high-level talent, a starting All-Star third baseman, Aroldis, one of the best closers, bullpen guys in the game, Johnny and Mike and all the other guys. But alas, the times are a changin' -- that's Bob Dylan. I feel like Dusty [Baker] right there.

Video: Outlook: Votto will remain a powerful, veteran hitter

"We rode out some [stuff] last year, if I can ride that out and have a good time and be optimistic, I can handle just about anything. As long as we continue to head in the right direction, I'm very excited and proud to be a Red. I'm motivated by being a part of the future."

It was a resurgent 2015 season for Votto, who batted .314/.459/.541 with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs in 158 games while being worth 7.4 wins above replacement. He was tied for second in the Majors behind Bryce Harper with 172 weighted-runs-created-plus (wRC+).

The previous few offseasons required Votto to focus on rehabilitating his left knee, an injury that sapped his production in 2014. He entered camp fully healthy.

"It's nice to come in and concentrate on performing instead of rehabbing, instead of overcoming setbacks from the previous year," Votto said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cincinnati Reds, Joey Votto