Votto unlikely to return during home series vs. Brewers

Reds first baseman Joey Votto throws to first for an out against the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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Reds first baseman Joey Votto throws to first for an out against the Pirates on Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Hopes that Joey Votto would return to the Reds lineup for the their three-game series and homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers were dashed as early as four hours before Tuesday’s opener.

The All-Star first baseman was not in the lineup, and it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be ready by the time the Reds and Brewers meet for Thursday’s 12:35 p.m. series finale.

Votto has been on the 10-day disabled list since Aug. 17 with a right lower leg contusion he sustained when hit by a Ryan Madson pitch in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4. He tried to play through the pain before being shut down.

“He felt pretty good on Saturday, but he didn’t feel quite as good on Sunday,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said before Tuesday’s game. “He’ll go through the regimen of running the bases and cutting today and probably tomorrow.”

The injury turned out to be more serious than first thought, Riggleman said.

“We realized it hit a nerve and it shoots the pain down to his foot,” he said. “When he’s more comfortable, he’ll be back in the lineup.”

Votto is hitting .284 with nine home runs and 55 runs batted in over 118 games.

Welcome home: Scott Schebler was in Cincinnati's lineup for Tuesday's game, playing his first game at Great American Ball Park since the Fourth of July.

Schebler was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday for his first action since spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder, the result of banging into the right field wall at Busch Stadium in St. Louis while trying to make a catch.

He went 1-for-8 in his first two games after being activated, both losses to the Cubs in Chicago, but he said his shoulder feels fine.

“I only had to make a couple of competitive throws,” he pointed out. “The swing felt better, too. It’s just that the results weren’t there.”

Schebler, who went into Tuesday hitting .274 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 78 games, didn’t know exactly how long it had been since he’s played in his home ballpark.

“It seems like forever,” he said. “I don’t know how many days it’s been. I’m sure you guys do. I’m looking forward to it. We seem to play better here. Hopefully, we’ll get a little win streak going.”

Shot for Reed: Saturday's starter for Cincinnati's game at St. Louis was listed as "TBA" – to be announced – and while Riggleman wouldn't commit to the assignment going to left-hander Cody Reed, he did say Reed would be going into the Reds' rotation.

Right-handers Sal Romano and Robert Stephenson will be pitching in relief, Riggleman said, as the Reds revert to a five-man rotation.

“We’ll toss around a little bit on which day Cody will start,” Riggleman said. Part of the decision-making process was to include figuring how he and other Reds starters matched up against the teams they’ll be facing after getting through this rotation turn.

The plan since Reed, one of three left-handers acquired from Kansas City for Johnny Cueto on July 26, 2015, rejoined the Reds from Triple-A Louisville on August 13 was for him to get some starts. Reed, who is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 11 games with the Reds this season, was 4-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 17 starts and one relief appearance for the Bats this season. He averaged 8.94 strikeouts and 2.64 walks per nine innings.

He hasn’t allowed a run over his last four appearances and three in 9-2/3 innings in seven appearances since being recalled.

“We like having at least one left-handed pitcher in the rotation,” Rigglean said.

There’s also a chance right-hander Tyler Mahle might get a couple of starts after roster space is expanded on September 1. Mahle is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four games for Louisville after going 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA in 22 starts with the Reds. He has logged 133 total innings this season after finishing 2017 with 164-1/3 while making three stops in the Reds system – the last with the Reds.

“We’re anticipating Mahle being here, and if he is, he’ll start,” Riggleman said.

Next up: Right-hander Matt Harvey (6-7) is scheduled to face right-hander Freddy Peralta in the second game of the series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.

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