Votto improving, but won't play this weekend

Votto improving, but won't play this weekend

CINCINNATI -- Reds first baseman Joey Votto is making progress in his efforts to return from knee surgery, but he will not be available in this weekend's pivotal series against the Pirates.

"Oh, hell no," Reds manager Dusty Baker said when asked on Thursday. "What weekend? You've still got to run. He just started playing a little first base."

Votto, who has not played since July 15 and had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee July 17, was on the field in shorts Thursday morning taking ground balls hit by third-base coach Mark Berry. Votto was not wearing a knee brace and looked to be moving around pretty well.

Votto did some hitting for the first time on Wednesday.

"I've still got it," Votto joked in passing.

There remains no known target date for Votto's return. The original prognosis following his operation was three to four weeks.