Reds manager Dusty Baker said Votto, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday, is well on his way to recovery and was walking under his own power on Saturday.
"Joey's looking pretty good," Baker said. "Today, he didn't have his crutches, which is a big plus. Doc said he's progressing well. That's great news for us and him."
Votto has been out since Monday with a torn meniscus in his left knee and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, but Baker said on Sunday it may be even sooner.
"Probably," said Baker when asked if he expected Votto to be back sooner rather than later. "But I'm not going to rush him. I haven't seen a guy walk around like he's walking less than a week after his operation. I was shocked that he put his crutches down."
Despite Votto's early progress, Baker warned that the All-Star may face some lingering concerns in his immediate return, noting baserunning and sliding being the largest hurdles.
"The hard thing is probably going to be running, and probably more than anything, I remember from my own operation, the hardest thing was sliding," Baker said. "You've been sliding on that one leg most of your life. Then all of a sudden, you're apprehensive about sliding, and that's how he hurt it. Until you do it a few times and realize you're not going to hurt yourself, you've got to get over the psychological fact that, 'Hey, I'm not hurt anymore.'"
The Reds are 4-2 entering Sunday in Votto's absence.