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For now, Votto batting second best for Reds

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CHICAGO -- Since Joey Votto moved up a spot from third to second in the lineup, the Reds' offense has taken off. Cincinnati averaged just 2.8 runs per game over the first 10 games with Votto hitting third, scoring three or fewer runs six times. Over the past five games with Votto hitting second, the Reds have scored 30 runs, including seven or more runs three times.

Votto has taken by far the majority of his at-bats in the No. 3 hole -- he's a career .317 hitter with a .977 OPS in 2,682 at-bats in the spot -- but his ability to get on base makes him an attractive option to hit second.

"It's a lot easier to do when the team isn't scoring runs," Reds manager Bryan Price said of hitting Votto second. "Joey can satisfy a lot of different things in different spots in the order. It's not a curse that he's a high on-base-percentage guy.

"It's certainly a benefit, but I also believe he's more than capable and he's proven that he's a quality No. 3 hitter. That being said, we just weren't getting the productivity that we wanted, the on-base that we wanted."

Price said hitting Votto second allows him to move Brandon Phillips to third, where he can "thrive." It also gives Price the flexibility to break up Votto and Jay Bruce in the lineup in a way other than with Ryan Ludwick hitting third and Todd Frazier fifth.

"Something needed to change, not so much because of the slow start here, but because of our history," Price said. "We've had a fairly similar look to our lineup. Brandon's been our swing guy from anywhere from first [to] second to fourth in the years that I've been here. But it's been productive to this point, we anticipate that continuing. We'll see. Nothing set in stone here, for sure."

Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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