CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds first baseman Joey Votto took another baseball-related step in his effort to return to the club, fielding ground balls before batting practice Wednesday. Over recent days, Votto began running, taking swings and playing catch.
Reds manager Bryan Price was waiting to see how Votto responded from the session before looking ahead. It would seem unlikely, however, that there would be enough time for Votto to go out on a Minor League rehab assignment. Triple-A Louisville's season ends on Monday. Votto, recovering from a distal strain of his left quadriceps, can be activated from the 60-day disabled list as soon as Sept. 4.
"I'd hate to say there's no chance, but I think because we're initiating baby steps that ... I don't know if he'll be ready by Sept. 4 or not. I have no idea. I really don't," Price said. "It's been a real gradual recovery, and it's an injury that needs -- more than anything, beyond strengthening and therapy -- it needs time to recover. ... We just haven't been able to force the recovery faster. There's just no quick fix to this quad problem to where he can play on it with the stability that's needed.
"When we went into this injury, we felt like, to get to where he was recovered was about four months. However, we were going to try to get to the point where he somehow could play before that. And to this point, we haven't been able to get there."
Since Votto went on the DL for the second time on July 8, a public timeline for his expected progress and return has continually been vague.
"I don't know if we had any expectations," Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said. "The plan was really to work on his strength and his endurance. The strength is there, now we've been concentrating on his muscular endurance."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.