HOUSTON -- With the Reds eyeing a division title and postseason baseball, they won't be giving extended playing time to anybody they call up in September with the expansion of rosters.
"We're going for a pennant here," manager Dusty Baker said.
The Reds officially recalled four players -- reliever Logan Ondrusek, infielders Didi Gregorius and Henry Rodriguez, and outfielder Denis Phipps -- on Saturday. Ondrusek has spent most of the season in the Reds' bullpen, and Baker said he will return there.
Gregorius, Rodriguez and Phipps are getting their first taste of life in the big leagues. Baker, who was a September callup by the Braves in 1968, '70 and '71, brought the three position players into his office before Saturday's game and talked with them about how to stay prepared.
"It's a great time to learn how to play, where to play and notice mistakes," Baker said. "If you pay attention, you learn a lot. They're all pretty attentive young men. I explained to them some of the perils of being in the big leagues versus in the Minor Leagues."
The three certainly give the Reds a few more options late in the game. Baker can be more liberal with pinch-hitters and pinch-runners knowing he has extra players in the dugout. Gregorius is regarded as a stellar defensive shortstop, so he could be used as a replacement late in a game.
If the Reds clinch a postseason berth before the end of the season, Baker could also use the extra players and give his regulars a few days off.
On Sunday the Reds will officially recall catcher Devin Mesoraco, who was sent to Triple-A Louisville on Aug. 23. Mesoraco was in the clubhouse on Saturday. Right-handers Todd Redmond and Pedro Villarreal will join the team on Tuesday after the conclusion of Louisville's season.
Baker isn't worried about players without Major League experience struggling with nerves if they find themselves in a game.
"If you stay alert and stay in the game, it's the same game," he said. "You've just got another deck out there in the stadium. It's just about relaxing and doing your thing. I'll try to get them in when I can, but right now they're really here to aid us and help us more than anything."
Votto homers in rehab game with Louisville
HOUSTON -- First baseman Joey Votto went 1-for-3 with a homer and two strikeouts for Triple-A Louisville in Columbus on Saturday night as he continues to rehabilitate the torn medial meniscus in his left knee.
Votto was originally expected to join the Reds in Houston after a few rehab games with Class A Dayton. On Saturday the Reds sent him to Columbus.
Manager Dusty Baker hopes Votto can join the Reds on Monday when they start a nine-game homestand, but that depends on whether Votto feels he's ready to return.
The Reds hope to know more about Votto's status on Sunday.
"That's a big question that none of us can answer yet," Baker said.
Votto entered Saturday 1-for-5 in three rehab appearances, all with Dayton. The Reds are 31-15 with him out of the lineup.
Todd Frazier picked up 25 RBIs in August, the third most for a Reds rookie in any month. Adam Dunn and Frank McCormick each had 27 RBIs, Dunn in 2001 and McCormick twice in 1938. Tony Cuccinello had 26 in 1930.
The Reds won 19 games in August, tied for the most in the Majors with the Nationals and the Rangers. The Reds also won 19 games in August 2010, when they won the National League Central by five games.
Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.