Stiff neck forces Votto from lineup

Stiff neck forces Votto from lineup

CINCINNATI -- During this stretch of 20 consecutive games without a day off, Reds manager Dusty Baker had been plotting and thinking of a way to give Joey Votto a break.

Wednesday's off-day for Votto wasn't the reason Baker had in mind. The first baseman has a stiff neck. It was extra unfortunate since Votto has the best career numbers on the team against Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf (4-for-7, one home run).

"If you can't go, you can't go," Baker said. "You know Joey Votto. If he could go, he was going to go. He called and left a message this morning. He went to see the doctor and he thought it would be better if he doesn't play today."

Votto has been the Reds' best hitter again this season, entering the day batting .312 with 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and a .408 on-base percentage. He's hitting .375 over his past 10 games.

Also hurting is Reds lefty setup man Arthur Rhodes, who has a sore foot. Rhodes pitched another scoreless inning on Tuesday and has a streak of 19 consecutive appearances without a run allowed.

"Hopefully both of them will be OK tomorrow," Baker said.