CINCINNATI — The Reds activated 1B Joey Votto off the disabled list Tuesday but will go easy with their star slugger until his left knee is back to normal.
Votto hadn't played since July 15 because of damaged cartilage in the knee that required two operations. He had a rehab stint in Class A Dayton and Triple-A Louisville last week.
Votto wasn't in the lineup against the Phillies on Tuesday. The 2010 NL MVP said the knee is better, but he's not ready to play every day.
"I think working me in slowly is the wise move," Votto said. "It's not 100 percent yet, but that will come in time."
Manager Dusty Baker said Votto could start a day game today that concludes the series. There was no hurry to get Votto back in the lineup: The Reds' NL Central lead is the biggest in the majors.
Cincinnati went 32-16 after Votto went on the DL.
"The plan's going to change every day, depending on how he feels," Baker said.
HELP FOR CARDS: RHP Chris Carpenter took a step in a bid to boost the Cardinals' playoff hopes by throwing a simulated game. Carpenter had July surgery to relieve nerve compression that resulted in numbness on much of the right side of his body. Also, St. Louis purchased the contract of RHP prospect Shelby Miller from Triple-A Memphis.
HAMMEL CLOSE: Orioles RHP Jason Hammel is expected to come off the 15-day disabled list Thursday to start the opener of a four-game series against the Yankees. The former Ray has been out since July 13 with a right knee injury that required surgery.
ROYALS FARMHAND HONORED: Baseball America named OF Wil Myers its minor-league player of the year. Myers, 21, batted .314 with 37 homers and a .600 slugging percentage in 134 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.
FSL PLAYOFFS: The Dunedin Blue Jays lost the opener of a best-of-three semifinal 1-0 at the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Game 2 is at 6:30 tonight at Dunedin.
CLEMENS COMEBACK: RHP Roger Clemens, 50, back pitching professionally five years after his retirement, said he doesn't expect to return to the majors. "I don't see it happening," Clemens told the Baltimore Sun before he threw a side session with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League. Clemens is scheduled to make his second start for the Skeeters on Friday.
WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: Japanese players have agreed to take part in the 2013 event, backing off a threat to boycott because of a dispute over the way tournament money is shared.
BRAVES: RHP Jair Jurrjens, an All-Star in 2011 who has been rehabbing from a groin injury, won't return to the team this year.
MARLINS: CF Emilio Bonifacio, on the disabled list since Aug. 22 with a sprained right knee, said he won't play again this season.
METS: 3B David Wright hopes to sign a long-term contract this offseason, the All-Star told CBS Sportsline. "I'm extremely optimistic,'' said Wright, 29, whose six-year contract ends after this season but has a club option for 2013. "I've really enjoyed it here.''
PIRATES: Rookie LF Starling Marte, out since Aug. 18 with a strained right oblique, began a rehab assignment with Class A State College and hopes to return to the majors by the end of the week.
WHITE SOX: RHP Gavin Floyd, on the disabled list with elbow problems for the second time this season, expects to have a second bullpen session Thursday.