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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."

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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.

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