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Votto ramps up activities, nearing return from DL

First baseman nursing lower right leg contusion; Reed to start Thursday
August 28, 2018

CINCINNATI -- The signs from Joey Votto's latest test of his right leg were visible all over his uniform pants, which were caked in reddish brown dirt from sliding -- one of the many drills the Reds' first baseman performed on Tuesday.Votto was not activated from the disabled list, but

CINCINNATI -- The signs from Joey Votto's latest test of his right leg were visible all over his uniform pants, which were caked in reddish brown dirt from sliding -- one of the many drills the Reds' first baseman performed on Tuesday.
Votto was not activated from the disabled list, but he felt good after running, cutting and sliding.
"Sliding [was] optional," Votto said. "I had fun out there, for sure. It was nice to be back out there running like normal."
Most importantly, none of the activity caused any pain or discomfort.
"I feel like I'm at or near game speed right now," Votto said. "I'm coming up on being ready to play."
Votto has been on the 10-day DL since Aug. 17 with a lower right leg contusion that could be traced to being hit by Nationals right-hander Ryan Madson's fastball near the knee on Aug. 4.

The original hope was that Votto would be able to return on Sunday, the first day he was eligible for activation. But he didn't feel good when he made quick moves while on the run. He used the team's off-day on Monday to rest.
"I would've played on Sunday, but I just wasn't ready by then," Votto said. "It looks like I'm coming up on getting ready, and I look forward to it."
Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman expected Votto to perform the drills again on Wednesday. The decision for activation will be left up to head trainer Steve Baumann and Votto.
"At the point when he can move around relatively comfortable, he'll be in the lineup," Riggleman said.
Reed headed to rotation
The Reds made it official on Tuesday that left-hander Cody Reed will move from the bullpen into the rotation and start Thursday's series finale against the Brewers. Cincinnati is going with five starting pitchers instead of six. Sal Romano and Robert Stephenson will both work as relievers.
"It's another chance to take advantage of," Reed said. "Hopefully I do that."
In seven relief appearances since his recall from Triple-A Louisville, Reed has a 2.79 ERA. He had been getting some higher-leverage situations, including when he was summoned in Friday's sixth inning against the Cubs. He replaced Matt Harvey with one out and the bases loaded, inducing an inning-ending double play on a 3-2 pitch to Anthony Rizzo.
"I went into Rigg's office right after the game Friday … I stuck my hand out and said, 'I appreciate you calling on me in that moment because this time last year and my first year in '16, that never would have happened,'" Reed said. "I think it makes me more confident that he's confident bringing me into that situation. As soon as the phone was ringing when Harvey got into that little jam, I was in my mind thinking, 'Please be me.'
"I know Rizzo is coming up. Looking back, he owns me [2-for-6, two homers, six RBIs entering]. That situation was big for me. A definite confidence boost that the manager has the belief in you in that moment."

Reed, who struggled with a 1-8 record and 6.75 ERA in the big leagues from 2016-17, now feels like he belongs in the Majors.
"I think once you have that mindset, you win the small battles," Reed said.
Over his final four starts for Louisville, Reed went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA.
"We determined this a week to 10 days ago that we'd like to get him up here and starting," Riggleman said. "His last few starts in Louisville indicated he was moving in the right direction. All things being equal, we'd like to have one left-handed starter in the rotation, at least. You're not going to force that to happen. You take your five best. Hopefully Cody would fit in there, being a left-hander."
New amateur scouting director named
The Reds announced Tuesday that they promoted cross checker Brad Meador to director of amateur scouting. Meador, who replaces Chris Buckley after he was reassigned to a new role within the organization, first joined the Reds in 2009 as an area supervisor and spent the last two years as the team's Midwest scouting cross checker.
Among Draft picks signed by Meador is the organization's No. 1 prospect, infielder Nick Senzel, according to MLB Pipeline. A former assistant coach for the University of Cincinnati, Meador has coached current and former big league players Josh Harrison, Kevin Youkilis and Tony Campana.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.