SAN DIEGO -- For the third straight game, first baseman Joey Votto was unable to start for the Reds on Friday because of a sinus infection. But he appeared as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth inning during a 4-3 loss to the Padres.

Votto struck out on three pitches against Padres closer Heath Bell. He could start the second game of the series vs. San Diego on Saturday afternoon.

"I'm hoping he's OK [Saturday]. We've got him on medication," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Heath Bell is not the guy you'd choose to have him go up against after being out three days. In that situation, Joey said he was available to pinch-hit. That was a prime situation against a very tough guy throwing 95, 96 mph."

Ramon Hernandez, normally the catcher, started at first base.

Edmonds, Nix could miss postseason

SAN DIEGO -- Out with a sore right Achilles tendon, Reds outfielder Jim Edmonds was moving around a little better and getting treatment with electric stimulation.

That improvement did not lift a heavy amount of pessimism Edmonds had that he could return in time for the playoffs. He's been bothered most of the season with the injury, but aggravated it severely on Tuesday circling the bases with a home run vs. Milwaukee.

"I've run out of patience with this, I guess," Edmonds said. "I've been going the whole year flirting with 'What am I doing here?' just because it's so sore. I am going to do everything I can, but I'm running out of time. I don't think it's going to get better. Right now, it's as bad if not the worst it's been the whole year."

Edmonds asked if he could be on the National League Division Series roster and basically be like the hobbled Kirk Gibson was for the 1988 Dodgers in the World Series.

"If I hit a home run, I wouldn't be able to walk for three days," Edmonds said. "I wish it was just a knee injury. I don't know. I haven't sat down and talked to Walt [Jocketty, the Reds GM,] and the trainers or anything. It's just frustrating. I just want to walk again without worrying about it rupturing.

With Edmonds out and Laynce Nix not 100 percent back from a sprained left ankle, the Reds could end up without their two most experienced lefty hitters off the bench.

Playing for the first time since Aug. 23 on Wednesday at Milwaukee, Nix grounded into a double play and hobbled to first base. Had he reached, he would've been lifted for a pinch-runner. That could open two bench spots on the playoff roster for rookie lefty hitters Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco or right-handed infielder Chris Valaika.

"He's not running well enough to run the bases or play the outfield," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Nix. "He doesn't have that big limp he had before, but he's still not 100 percent. He's a big part of our team. We miss him, especially with Edmonds being down too. I'd like to get one of them back hopefully or both."

Chapman has bad memories of PETCO

SAN DIEGO -- PETCO Park? Been there, done that, says Aroldis Chapman. For the first time during his brief big league career, the Reds' Cuban lefty visited a ballpark he had actually pitched at before.

Chapman started for Cuba vs. Japan during the second round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. It wasn't an entirely good memory. In a 6-0 loss, Chapman gave up three earned runs, three hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.

"I remember that real well because I was pitching here and could not throw one strike," Chapman said through an interpreter. "It's kind of funny because before you guys got here, we were talking about that. I could not throw one strike at all."

Worth noting

Baker and Padres manager Bud Black are two leading candidates for the National League Manager of the Year Award. Baker had no opinion on who should get it. "I don't think about that too much. I think about winning," Baker said. "That's all I think about." ... Black pitched for the Baker-managed Giants in 1993-94. Baker was asked if he thought Black was manager material back then. "No," Baker replied. "But that thought never came to a lot of people about me."