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Votto is still productive despite slow start

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CINCINNATI -- It's not often that a player who reaches bases in more than half of his plate appearances is viewed by some as struggling, but most players don't hit like Joey Votto. The Reds first baseman entered Thursday batting .277 with one homer, three RBIs and 14 strikeouts. But helped by a Major League leading 22 walks, he carried a league-best .521 on-base percentage and has reached in every game in which he's played.

While the Reds banged out 15 hits in Wednesday's 11-2 win over the Phillies, Votto was the only starter to go hitless. He was 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.

"Joey did what I used to do. If we get 18 hits, I'd get none. Always. Then we'd get six hits and I'd get four," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's hard to explain."

Through 15 games last season, Votto was batting .269 with one homer, eight RBIs, 14 walks, 16 strikeouts and a .418 on-base percentage. In May last season, he batted .355 with six homers.

Baker was not concerned about Votto.

"Everybody is going to have their turn. Joey is going to have his turn," Baker said. "Water seeks its own level. We just feel fortunate we have Brandon [Phillips] and some other guys playing well in that middle spot."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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