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Cueto shuts down the Twins over seven strong

With three rookies in the starting lineup Monday, the Reds could use all the veteran experience they could get.

For the second straight day, Cincinnati was without two of its stars, as both Joey Votto and Scott Rolen were missing from action in the series opener against the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium.

Votto was forced out of Saturday's game against the Giants after experiencing inflammation in his left knee.

"Not much better but I feel better," Votto said Monday. "It's improved but not to the point where I think they're comfortable with me starting. Ultimately, it's how I feel and if my knee has reacted positively. But we've got a long season to go. I don't want to risk banging up the knee some more because of it."

By game time Monday, it was still questionable whether Votto would be available to pinch-hit, but the three-time All-Star did not make an appearance in the 8-2 win.

"You certainly don't want to risk losing him for an extended period of time," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who added that there was no consideration of putting Votto on the disabled list.

Votto is batting .350 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs this season, while his 33 doubles and .471 on-base percentage lead the Majors.

Miguel Cairo, 38, has been filling in for Votto, but is hitting just .152 and went 1-for-5 with an RBI on Monday night.

Rolen was a late scratch from Sunday's game, leaving in the first inning during leadoff man Zack Cozart's at-bat because of back spasms.

Rolen said his back felt tighter and tighter as he continued to swing off the tee Sunday, and the final swing sent it into spasms.

The 37-year-old third baseman added that he didn't think he needed another stint on the DL.

"It could be a few days," Rolen said. "I've had similar back spasm issues and they seem to be with me two or three days. Today is normally the worst day and it just locks up on me. I will keep going, do some [abdominal] stuff, stuff I've done in the past to knock it out."

With both players' statuses in question Tuesday, Cincinnati will face the Dodgers' Chris Capuano (9-3), whose 2.69 ERA is the second lowest on the squad among starting pitchers behind Clayton Kershaw's 2.65.

Tuesday's matchup will pit two All-Star snubs as Reds righty Johnny Cueto (9-4, 2.26) faces off against the lefty Capuano.

The southpaw is off to one of his best seasons in a Dodgers uniform, but fell victim to poor run support in his most recent outing against the Mets on Thursday.

Capuano gave up three runs on five hits in seven innings, striking out five. Despite his efforts, with just 82 pitches under his belt -- one more than his season low -- Capuano was taken out of the game with the Dodgers in need of offense.

Capuano was signed to a two-year extension in the offseason with a 2014 option, and has been a pleasant surprise for Los Angeles.

"Cap has had a really good season to this point," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "I don't know if he could pitch a whole lot better. We feel like he's been pretty stellar as far as what he's done this year."

Reds: Latos named NL Player of the Week
After a rough start to his Reds career, right-hander Mat Latos was named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending July 1.

Latos started his Cincinnati career with two losses in three outings and an 8.22 ERA.

Latos has slowly begun to settle in as a Red and hasn't recorded a loss since, boosting his record to 7-2 and lowering his ERA to 4.42.

In his past two outings, Latos has pitched two complete games, giving up a total of two runs on six hits, while striking out 20, including a career-high 13 strikeouts in his win last Monday against the Brewers.

Latos had just one career complete game prior to throwing two last week.

Dodgers: Kemp, Ellis, Guerra to make rehab appearance
Both second baseman Mark Ellis and pitcher Javy Guerra made rehab appearances Sunday, suiting up for Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

In his third rehab game on Monday, Ellis played seven innings in the field and went 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs, a run scored walk and a strikeout.

Guerra, who making his first rehab appearance, pitched one inning allowing one run and one hit.

On Tuesday, All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp will join the group.

All three players were Opening Day starters for Los Angeles -- Kemp in center, Ellis at second and Guerra as the closer.

Worth noting
• Despite the injuries, the Reds have used 29 players this season -- the fewest in the Major Leagues.

• Since 2006, the Dodgers' .667 winning percentage against the Reds is the second highest among NL clubs, behind Philadelphia's .714 mark, but Los Angeles has dropped two consecutive season series to Cincinnati. Comments