CINCINNATI -- Early in a baseball season, individual batting averages can go from blah to beautiful in just one game. Reds first baseman Joey Votto certainly proved it during Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Cardinals. Votto came in batting .188 (3-for-16) with one home run and six strikeouts. A 4-for-5 game vs. St. Louis raised his batting average to .333. "I don't ever come to the ballpark imagining that I'm going to get four hits," Votto said. "I expect to play well. I spend most of my time and energy trying to stay as focused and intense as I can out on the field, not giving away anything. I also spend a lot of time and energy in the cages working on my craft. I try not to get ahead of myself."
Both Votto and Reds manager Dusty Baker acknowledged that pitchers are working the 28-year-old differently. "They've been very aggressive," Votto said. Baker noted, however, that was nothing new for the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner. "They pitched him differently last year than the year before," Baker said Wednesday morning. "You get an MVP behind your name, they're going to pitch you differently. They'll spend more time on you at meetings. They will spend more time on you in the video room. Sometimes they run from him and sometimes they run at him.
"It's just a matter of combating it. He'll figure it out. We certainly need him."