CINCINNATI -- Early in a baseball season, individual batting averages can go from blah to beautiful in just one game. Reds first baseman Joey Votto certainly proved it during Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Cardinals.Votto came in batting .188 (3-for-16) with one home run and six strikeouts. A 4-for-5 game vs. St. Louis raised his batting average to .333. "I don't ever come to the ballpark imagining that I'm going to get four hits," Votto said. "I expect to play well. I spend most of my time and energy trying to stay as focused and intense as I can out on the field, not giving away anything. I also spend a lot of time and energy in the cages working on my craft. I try not to get ahead of myself." Both Votto and Reds manager Dusty Baker acknowledged that pitchers are working the 28-year-old differently. "They've been very aggressive," Votto said. Baker noted, however, that was nothing new for the 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner. "They pitched him differently last year than the year before," Baker said Wednesday morning. "You get an MVP behind your name, they're going to pitch you differently. They'll spend more time on you at meetings. They will spend more time on you in the video room. Sometimes they run from him and sometimes they run at him.
"It's just a matter of combating it. He'll figure it out. We certainly need him."
Cozart feeling right at home in No. 2 spot
CINCINNATI -- Reds rookie shortstop Zack Cozart has been good in the second spot of the lineup, and the No. 2 spot in the order has been good for him over the years."I've been in the second spot pretty much my whole career," Cozart said on Wednesday. "I've been doing that ever since I've been in pro ball. I love hitting in the two-hole." By going 2-for-5 in the series finale against the Cardinals on Wednesday, Cozart remained the hottest hitter on the Reds, batting .455 (10-for-22) in the first six games, with two doubles, two triples and two RBIs. During Spring Training, he batted .345 and led the club with 20 hits. One advantage the 26-year-old Cozart has in the Majors, which he didn't enjoy in the Minors, is hitting one spot ahead of Joey Votto. "Right now, I'm getting some balls over the plate and putting good swings on them," Cozart said. "Early in the game, they're not going to want to walk me, obviously, to get on base for Joey. If I get into a good hitter's count, the pitcher will probably come with something over the plate. That's certainly a good thing. That's helping me out."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Cozart is the first Reds rookie to hit safely in each of the first six games of a season since Frankie Baumholtz in 1947.
Reds closer Ryan Madson, who tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during Spring Training, was scheduled to have Tommy John surgery on Wednesday afternoon. For the second straight game, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was not in the lineup because of a sore left hamstring. Phillips wasn't expected to play, especially with the recent cold weather. Manager Dusty Baker was hopeful, but noncommittal about whether Phillips could play in the next series at Washington. "He wants to be ready, but he's not," Baker said. "You have to do a lot of stuff at second base, if you play it the way he plays it. You just don't want him to feel obligated [to play] because he just signed a contract. That's a separate issue."