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Votto takes BP as return remains up in the air

CHICAGO -- Joey Votto and Mat Latos made strides toward their potential return to the Reds by season's end on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

Votto took infield batting practice for the first time since going on the disabled list with a distal strain of his left quadriceps on July 8. Latos, scratched from his last start Friday with a bone bruise in his pitching elbow, played catch in the outfield.

Votto took 21 cuts -- three sessions of five swings and the final with six. He ran sprints around the infield exterior before and after batting, then finished pregame practice fielding roughly 25 grounders.

The progress is a significant step in his return from the 60-day disabled list. Thought possibly gone for the season after a surplus of setbacks as recent as Sept. 5, Votto began taking flips in the batting cage on Sunday.

Manager Bryan Price said the Reds haven't "written anything in stone as far as where [Votto] needs to be by a certain date," but Votto has expressed hope to return within the final two weeks of the season.

"If we're able to get to the point where he can play in a game before season's end, I don't know that yet," Price said two hours before Votto took BP Tuesday. "This would be a step in the right direction."

The Reds' current, three-city, 10-day road trip is Votto's first since going on the disabled list. The former National League MVP is batting .255/.390/.409 with six home runs and 23 RBIs over 62 games, having spent a separate stint on the DL from May 21 to June 10 with the same injury.

Latos will not slide back in to his scheduled spot in the rotation on Wednesday. September callup Daniel Corcino, 24, will get the nod as he did Friday against the Brewers, when Latos was scratched.

Corcino allowed two earned runs, two hits and a walk against 22 batters with 79 pitches over six innings in the Reds' 3-2 loss Friday.

Cincinnati currently carries five healthy starters on its 40-man roster due Latos' and Homer Bailey's injuries, the latter out for the season with a strained flexor mass in his pitching elbow.

Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for
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