MIAMI -- After missing two months due to a pair of arthroscopic surgeries on his left knee, Reds first baseman Joey Votto said he works time-and-a-half so he can return to his All-Star form.
"I missed playing," Votto said. "I've got to get in the lineup and get as many at-bats as possible to be able to get my swing back in check and be able to work on my legs and the defensive and baserunning side."
A true test for Votto's knee came during the Reds' 14-inning victory over the Pirates on Monday. He played the entire game.
"He wants to play every day," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I wanted to take him out. He said, 'Hey, I'm fine.' If he says he's fine, nobody knows himself better than Joey. He's trying to find his masterful stroke."
The 29-year-old continues to look for it.
Since his return to the lineup on Sept. 4, Votto has reached base safely in 17 of his 35 plate appearances for a .280 average, nine walks and a hit by pitch in eight games. His season numbers stand at .337 with 37 doubles, 14 homers and 49 RBIs.
"I have missed a beat," Votto said. "It's been an adjustment coming back. Obviously, taking all that time off, there's small things you take for granted that you usually take care of in Spring Training, in the beginning of the season. Two months off is a long time, especially when you're laid up with something and building strength and flexibility in an important part of your body."