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Price keeping Votto in No. 3 spot

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Price keeping Votto in No. 3 spot play video for Price keeping Votto in No. 3 spot

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Much offseason conversation among fans and media was dedicated to whether Reds first baseman Joey Votto needed to change his approach at the plate and be less selective.

Votto led the National League with a .435 on-base percentage last season and reached base a club-record 316 times, including 116 walks. But he had 24 home runs and 73 RBIs, which were lower than his track record.

Reds manager Bryan Price is not going to ask Votto to change how he hits.

"In his defense, he scored a lot of runs last year and he got on base a high percentage and put us in situations to help Brandon [Phillips] drive in 100-plus [runs] and Jay [Bruce] drive in 100-plus. There was run production and a lot of it from Joey. The one thing I think everyone else discusses is the total amount of RBIs. How much can you really change approach as far as expanding a zone? Does it make sense to expand a strike zone in order to drive in runs?

"It's simply taking advantage of the good pitches to hit. I think the depth of the quality of hitters we have behind him … could also provide him with some opportunities. I can't ask him to expand his strike zone. He's worked so hard to get there. We hope when he gets good pitches to hit, he hits them and we have guys on base ahead of him that he can drive in."

Votto -- who batted .305 and played all 162 games in 2013 -- has been the No. 3 hitter in the Reds' lineup for several years, a spot reserved often for run producers. Price is opposed to moving Votto up to the No. 2 spot, where he could get more plate appearances over the course of a season.

"I haven't [considered it] at this point in time," Price said. "It's hard to look at Joey Votto and then take a season like 2013 and make that his defining season of who he is as a hitter. This is a guy that hit as many as 37 home runs in a season and has been well over 100 RBIs. He's a high on-base percentage guy that does an awful lot of things well for our club. I'm looking forward to a big season. That being said, we've got to get guys on base in front of him. He's got to get pitches to hit and take advantage of them. At this point in time, he's hitting third unless we feel the need to make an adjustment to inspire the offense."

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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