PITTSBURGH -- Reds manager Dusty Baker had hinted for about a week that All-Star first baseman Joey Votto was in need of a day off. That day came on Wednesday.
Votto was not in the starting lineup for the finale against the Pirates, as rookie Mike Costanzo started in his place, while right fielder Jay Bruce moved up to Votto's third spot in the lineup. With the Reds off on Thursday, the break effectively gives him two days of rest.
"I talked to Joey about a week ago, and we came up with this day as the best day," Baker said. "I was a little apprehensive if two days in a row [off] would hurt his stroke. He said it was not going to bother him at all. Joey Votto knows Joey Votto pretty well. When a guy gets to a certain stature and certain prowess, you owe it to him and us to discuss it with him."
During a 2-1 Reds loss to Pittsburgh, Votto pinch-hit in the top of the ninth and delivered a one-out lined single to left field off Joel Hanrahan to represent the go-ahead run.
Votto, who was not in the clubhouse during the afternoon, entered Wednesday with 176 consecutive games played. That is the longest streak among active National League players. The Major League leader was the Tigers' Prince Fielder, with 230 games. The last time Votto missed a game was May 9, 2011. The last time he didn't start was Aug. 23.
Following his last total off-day, Votto went 7-for-14 over his next three games. He went 8-for-20 following the August break. He started 159 of his 161 games played in 2011, and played all but one inning in the Reds' first 49 games this season.
Votto, who is batting .321 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs, led the NL with 22 doubles and 43 walks entering Wednesday. His .460 on-base percentage was second in the league.
In his last 25 games, Votto batted .369 (31-for-84) with six homers and 14 RBIs.
"He's given us all he had," Baker said. "Cal Ripken's record is a long way from being in jeopardy. That's a record I respect, but Hank Aaron would always tell us to play 150 games. There are 10-12 games when your name is just ink on the lineup card and you're not a factor that day, either because you're tired or emotionally drained. I could see Joey wearing down the last week."
Frazier in spotlight after saving choking victim
PITTSBURGH -- In the past 24-plus hours since MLB.com reported Tuesday that he saved a choking victim by performing the Heimlich Maneuver, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier has been a man in demand.
Frazier's story received national attention on Tuesday night and Wednesday. The club received numerous media requests to interview the rookie. His phone has also been buzzing.
"It's unbelievable," Frazier said on Wednesday. "You hear from a lot of people. Things like this, it spreads. I got a lot of friends and family support. I have a lot of trainers back in high school saying, 'Hey, you're going to take my job,' and stuff like that. I'm thankful for them too."
On Monday night, following the Reds Memorial Day game vs. the Pirates, Frazier was having dinner with teammate Ryan Ludwick when he spotted a man choking. Two women, the man's dining companion, and a server were unsuccessfully trying to apply the Heimlich when Frazier stepped in to help, dislodging a piece of steak from the patron's throat.
"I was just glad I was there to help him out," said Frazier, who noted that the victim did not know he was a ballplayer.
This wasn't Ludwick's first experience seeing someone choke. He said he once helped save someone with the Heimlich while eating at The Precinct steakhouse in Cincinnati with then Cardinals teammate Jason LaRue.
"It's the third time it's happened to me in two years," Ludwick said. "I did it once myself on a guy, and this time I didn't want to do it, so I let [Frazier] do it. Another time, my wife and I were out to dinner and a waiter helped someone. It seems to happen -- guys choking around me. It's weird. ... People need to make sure to take small bites and chew their meat to the fullest."