CINCINNATI — Four hours before the first pitch, RF Jay Bruce was taking ground balls at a position he hasn't played since high school.
The Reds are making a big switch to get by without Joey Votto.
Bruce started at first base Monday against the Cubs, the first time in his professional career that he has played anywhere but the outfield. Manager Bryan Price said Bruce will play first on occasion while Votto deals with a nagging thigh injury that could land him back on the disabled list.
"We don't really have a bunch of true first basemen here besides Joey," Price said.
The big question is what to do with Votto.
The 2010 National League MVP missed 23 games with a strained muscle above his left knee. The Reds have said the injury won't fully heal until after the season, and he's batting only .250 in 23 games since his return, with no homers since May 10.
"It's becoming apparent in the quality of his play that it's not just something that's an inconvenience," Price said. "It's getting to the point where it's very difficult for him to compete."
INDIANS LOSE, GAIN OF: Indians CF Michael Bourn could miss up to a month with a strained left hamstring. Cleveland acquired OF Chris Dickerson from the Pirates for a player to be named or cash.
SLUGGER TO DL: The Blue Jays put 1B Edwin Encarnacion on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps. Mariners 3B Kyle Seager will replace Encarnacion on the AL's All-Star roster.
TOP PICK Might BE HURT: LHP Brady Aiken, the top overall pick in the June draft, reportedly has an "issue" with a ligament in his pitching elbow, delaying his signing with the Astros, cbssports.com reported.
ANGELS: RHP Jered Weaver left after two perfect innings because of tightness in his lower back.
CARDINALS: An MRI exam on RHP Michael Wacha's injured shoulder showed progress, but not enough for him to resume throwing.
D'BACKS: RHP Bronson Arroyo, a former Hernando High standout, said he needs season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery.
ROCKIES: RHP Jhoulys Chacin won't need surgery on his frayed right rotator cuff but is still expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
TWINS: RHP Ricky Nolasco went back to Minnesota to have an MRI exam on his sore right elbow.