Votto making strides, but won't start in Cactus League opener

Limited to 62 games last year because of quad injury, 1B hopes to play in games soon

Votto making strides, but won't start in Cactus League opener

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When the Reds open their exhibition schedule on Tuesday vs. the Indians, the only regular position player not in the starting lineup will be the one whose status is under the most scrutiny -- first baseman Joey Votto.

Instead of Votto, non-roster invite Josh Satin will start in Votto's place. Last season, Votto was limited to 62 games because of a distal strain of his left quadriceps and didn't play at all after July 5. Votto is thrilled with his camp thus far.

"I feel really good. I was surprised at how good I feel this early," Votto said on Monday afternoon. "I'm trending towards starting to play in games, hopefully here in the not too distant future. I do feel like I need a little bit more time, but the time is not a byproduct of avoiding games or not being ready when I need to be ready. It's just to make sure after taking what seems to be 10 months, eight months or however long off from baseball that I play the game a little bit more to get ready and get the volume in and get the reps in."

Votto came to camp slightly behind in terms of being in baseball shape because he spent the winter focused on rehabilitation in his hometown of Toronto.

Through the early workouts in camp, Votto has shown no real limitations because of his leg, but he hasn't done some of the little things during the basic drills.

"Those little things, I'm starting to get to the point where those I will be able to join in on and be able to fully be a part of nearly everything with the team," Votto said.

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.