Aiming to return this season, Votto takes another step

Reds star slated to take underhand flips while hitting in indoor cage

Aiming to return this season, Votto takes another step

MILWAUKEE -- Reds first baseman Joey Votto continued this weekend to take small steps toward possibly getting back to playing before the regular season. On Sunday, Votto was slated to take underhand flips while hitting in an indoor cage.

It's viewed as a small, but necessary, progression as Votto works his back from a distal strain of the left quadriceps that has had him on the disabled list since July 8.

"Getting in there, it's the first time I'll get to work in the cage with [hitting coaches] Don Long and Lee Tinsley. That's the final step before taking batting practice on the field," Votto said.

Votto, who is traveling on the road for the first time since he went on the DL for the second time with the quad injury, had been hitting off a tee and taking ground balls for the past several days without issue.

"I definitely feel like I've made tremendous progress," Votto said.

There are two weeks remaining in the regular season, and the Reds are nearing elimination from contending, but the club is still looking for Votto to make incremental progress toward playing. Hitting flips is one more step in intensity that Votto puts on his leg.

"It's day-to-day, station-to-station," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Everything he's been doing has been increased effort from when he takes ground balls, moving laterally side-to-side, the running -- it's just a progression."

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.