Votto making progress with rehab from quad injury

Manager Price says at Redsfest that he expects slugger to be ready for spring

Votto making progress with rehab from quad injury

CINCINNATI -- As he gathered and mingled with his Reds teammates after the team was introduced at Redsfest on Friday night, it was clear that first baseman Joey Votto wanted to say little about the topic everyone wants to know more about -- his health.

Votto was limited to only 62 games last season because of a distal strain of the left quadriceps near his knee. He did not play a game after July 5 and spent the time rehabilitating, which he has continued during this offseason.

"I feel like I've made progress. I feel like I'm going in the right direction," said Votto, who repeated the comment numerous times when asked questions.

Reds manager Bryan Price has spoken to Votto more at length and liked what he heard.

"He's feeling really good, working to make sure he gets all of the soreness out of his quad and is able to do all of the strengthening," Price said. "... I think he's very optimistic that he's going to be really strong and really ready to go in Spring Training."

In between his two stints on the disabled list, Votto batted .255/.390/.409 with six home runs and 23 RBIs in 272 plate appearances -- his least productive season in the Majors. He has nine more seasons and $206 million remaining on the contract extension he signed in April 2012.

Votto, 31, is looking forward to next season.

"I'm very excited. I'm very motivated," Votto said. "Last year was a bit of a disappointment. It was a new experience for me. I'd like to right the ship."

Votto has spent most of his offseason around his hometown of Toronto. In past years, he stayed at his winter home in Florida, but he wanted to be closer to family in Canada while doing his rehab.

"I'm just following the instruction of the Reds' staff and working with someone up there that has a long history of working with professional athletes and professional organizations," Votto said. "I'd like to think it will yield really good results and it has thus far."

Price believes that Votto won't be behind schedule for Spring Training in February.

"There's times when you're doing rehab and there's soreness through the rehab, and I think what they're trying to do is not do anything that brings on the soreness," Price said. "I think he's made some modifications to the training in the offseason so there's no chance to re-aggravate, but the strength is getting better. He'll be able to start to do some road work and running and sprints and cutting and things like that here fairly soon. I'm optimistic there will be zero limitations when he gets to Spring Training."

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.