6/2/2013 2:45 P.M. ET
Votto is Reds' iron man so far in '13
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Only one Reds player has been in the lineup for all 57 games this season, first baseman Joey Votto. Besides his production of late, his playing every game is a sign that he's all the way back from the left knee surgeries that cost him 48 games in 2012.
Last season, Votto got his first day of rest on May 30, at Pittsburgh. A day off didn't appear imminent, indicated manager Dusty Baker.
"I was always told that if you're hot, you stay in there until you crawl," Baker said. "Then, when you cool off, that's when you get a day off."
During Saturday's 2-0 win over the Pirates, Votto snapped a 0-for-13 stretch with a RBI single up the middle.
Votto completed a May in which he batted .388 with six home runs, 16 RBIs and a .492 on-base percentage.
"Let's face it, Joey does a lot," Baker said. "He works hard. He takes care of himself. He carries a lot of weight offensively, which is a lot of work on him. Defensively, it's not like Mr. [Shin-Soo] Choo playing center field. Of most of the positions, he has the shortest route to the dugout. An outfielder runs a mile a day just back-and-forth to his position. I'm not saying any of them are easy, but that's the position that usually gets the least amount of days off."
Phillips may miss series with Rockies
PITTSBURGH -- As expected, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was out of the starting lineup on Sunday because of a left forearm contusion. Phillips was hit by a fastball from Pirates lefty Tony Watson in the eighth inning of Saturday's 2-0 win over Pittsburgh.
X-rays on Phillips' arm were negative, but he was wearing a wrap in the clubhouse on Sunday morning. Although available to pinch-run, according to manager Dusty Baker, he might miss the next series vs. the Rockies in Cincinnati.
"It's going to be, I anticipate, three or four days," Baker said.
Phillips has been pivotal for the Reds this season. He is batting .296 in 54 games with nine home runs, and his 45 RBIs were tied for the National League lead.
Baker was relieved that there were no broken bones.
"We feel very fortunate, even though it's frustrating, that we'll have Brandon back in a few days," Baker said. "It could have been really, really devastating. I was just thinking [about being] without Brandon defensively, and offensively -- and he's our cleanup hitter."
LeCure excelling in thankless role
PITTSBURGH -- Middle- and late-inning relievers often stay under the radar, and are only noticed when things are going bad. But it'd be hard to ignore what Reds reliever Sam LeCure has done this season.
The right-handed LeCure, who entered Sunday with a 1.16 ERA in 21 appearances this season, has not allowed a run in any of his 10 appearances. He's also stranded all six of his inherited baserunners. His role can be a thankless one, but that's fine with LeCure.
"I'm not looking for thanks," said LeCure, who has nine walks and 25 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings. "I'm not looking for anybody to thank me for doing what I'm supposed to be doing, basically. [Closer Aroldis Chapman] is the guy on the mound at the end of the game. He's the last guy people see, and that's fine. That's perfect. That's why he's there."
LeCure has worked in a variety of situations -- five times throwing more than one inning and four times throwing two innings. In a win over the Indians on Tuesday, he faced just one batter with two men on and the go-ahead run at the plate in Asdrubal Cabrera -- whom he struck out.
"I don't yearn for recognition or anything like that," LeCure said. "I want the respect of the guys in here. You want guys around the league to respect what you do. But if I had to choose between the rest of the league and the guys in here, I [couldn't] care less about what anybody around the league says. I want [my teammates] to have the confidence that [I'm] put in there to do the job and that's it. I try not to make it any more complicated than that."
LeCure has pitched one perfect inning in each of the first two games of the series vs. the Pirates.
"I think the last couple of times out haven't been pretty," LeCure said. "Any time you come out with a zero is a good thing. We're going to be in a lot of tight ballgames this year. Fortunately, I've gotten away with some things the last couple of times out, but I feel like I'm throwing the ball well overall. Sometimes those outings you're not as happy with can be a springboard for you to the next one, because you're aware that you have to tighten it up."
Heisey progressing toward return
PITTSBURGH -- Injured Reds outfielder Chris Heisey did sprints on the grass around the bases on Saturday, and was still doing fine on Sunday. Heisey has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a strained right hamstring.
"It felt incredible," Heisey said on Sunday. "I'm taking it easy today, and [will] let it heal a little more. Hopefully, [Monday] will be another really good test of where I'm at. And maybe some time this week, I will get to play some games."
Reds manager Dusty Baker expects there to be caution exercised before Heisey gets to go on a rehab assignment. His previous rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola lasted only one inning of one game before a setback happened.
"He was getting close before, too," Baker said. "We have to make sure he's ready, no matter what he says. He has to visibly show us -- and you still won't know if it's ready. Look at Matt Kemp. He did it two or three times last year and still wasn't ready."