8/28/2014 12:24 A.M. ET
Votto adds field work to recovery program
By Mark Sheldon and Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Injured Reds first baseman Joey Votto took another baseball-related step in his effort to return to the club, fielding ground balls before batting practice Wednesday. Over recent days, Votto began running, taking swings and playing catch.
Reds manager Bryan Price was waiting to see how Votto responded from the session before looking ahead. It would seem unlikely, however, that there would be enough time for Votto to go out on a Minor League rehab assignment. Triple-A Louisville's season ends on Monday. Votto, recovering from a distal strain of his left quadriceps, can be activated from the 60-day disabled list as soon as Sept. 4.
"I'd hate to say there's no chance, but I think because we're initiating baby steps that ... I don't know if he'll be ready by Sept. 4 or not. I have no idea. I really don't," Price said. "It's been a real gradual recovery, and it's an injury that needs -- more than anything, beyond strengthening and therapy -- it needs time to recover. ... We just haven't been able to force the recovery faster. There's just no quick fix to this quad problem to where he can play on it with the stability that's needed.
"When we went into this injury, we felt like, to get to where he was recovered was about four months. However, we were going to try to get to the point where he somehow could play before that. And to this point, we haven't been able to get there."
Since Votto went on the DL for the second time on July 8, a public timeline for his expected progress and return has continually been vague.
"I don't know if we had any expectations," Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said. "The plan was really to work on his strength and his endurance. The strength is there, now we've been concentrating on his muscular endurance."
Hamilton becomes youngest Red to steal 50 bases
CINCINNATI -- Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton added another remarkable feat to an already impressive rookie campaign.
In the fourth inning of Wednesday's 7-5 win over the Cubs, the speedster stole his 50th base of the season, swiping third with two outs and later scoring on a single by Brandon Phillips.
At 23 years old, Hamilton is the youngest player in Reds history, and ninth overall, to steal 50 or more bases in a season, joining Bob Bescher (1909-12), Dode Paskert (1910), Bobby Tolan (1970), Joe Morgan (1972-76), Dave Collins (1980), Eric Davis (1986-87), Barry Larkin (1995) and Deion Sanders (1997). Tolan and Davis (in '86) were 24 when they stole 50.
"It feels great. That's just what I like to do is steal bases, and I got a chance tonight," Hamilton said. "I knew I had 49, but not knowing what comes behind the 50 steals. So it was pretty good to get."
Hamilton said he's become a better baserunner since getting to the big leagues, even though he leads the Majors in number of times caught stealing (19) and set a Minor League record by stealing 155 bases between Class A Advanced Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola in 2012.
"I got caught last year less in the Minor Leagues, but that was more off of just going and not knowing the situation, not really caring who was batting or what the situation was," Hamilton said. "It was just running. ... It's mainly about learning the situation now."
"It's certainly a bonus for us," Reds manager Bryan Price said of what Hamilton has brought to the club with his speed. "We didn't have a ton of team speed last year. This is an added dimension to our offense. It's extremely exciting."
Hamilton is four stolen bases away from equaling the franchise's rookie record of 54, set by Bescher in 1909. The all-time single-season franchise record is 81, also set by Bescher in 1911.
But while Hamilton used to set a goal for how many bases he wanted to steal in a given season, that's no longer the case.
"After I got to the big leagues, I stopped doing that," he said. "Usually my goal was: every level in the Minor Leagues I wanted to double what I had the following season. When I got to last year, I stopped that; I just wanted to come here, learn and get better and see what happens."
Continuing to build a strong candidacy to earn the National League Rookie of the Year Award, Hamilton entered Wednesday's contest leading all NL rookies in RBIs (44), multi-hit games (34), runs (66), hits (126), total bases (182), doubles (24), triples (7), stolen bases and extra-base hits (37). He was also leading all NL center fielders with eight outfield assists.
Price sees big things in Hamilton's future.
"I'm excited, obviously, that he's gotten to this level," Price said. "He's only going to get better."
Bailey's season in question after MRI results
CINCINNATI -- Reds pitcher Homer Bailey underwent a second MRI exam on the strained flexor mass tendon in his right forearm, and the results learned Wednesday did not give him the green light to resume throwing.
"Unfortunately, it's not healing the way we thought it would," Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said.
Bailey has been out since Aug. 8, and he hasn't tried to throw since he had a platelet-rich plasma injection to help speed his healing shortly after going on the disabled list. A second PRP injection is under consideration, but if he has one, it would mean another week of not throwing.
"He's unfortunately very frustrated, [but] I have to think about his arm for the future as well, not just the next four weeks," Lessard said. "We're trying to figure out what's the best thing for him."
Reds medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek is seeking additional opinions from other orthopedic physicians.
"He has an opinion, but he isn't sure if we should continue what we're doing, [or if we] should shut him down completely," Lessard said.
Triple-A Louisville will be holding pregame ceremonies on Sunday to honor veteran catcher Corky Miller and retire his No. 8 jersey. It will be the first number retirement in the Louisville franchise's history. Miller is the Bats' all-time leader in games played, with 548 over 10 seasons.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.