|Brandon Phillips' solo homer was the difference in Tuesday's game against the Padres. (Associated Press)|
The Reds have survived the loss of Joey Votto, but they may be without another key piece as second baseman Brandon Phillips left Tuesday's game with a strained left calf and said he could miss an extended period of time.
"I'm not going to be playing for a while," Phillips said, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "[Reds doctor Tim Kremchek] looked at it and he said it was worse than what they expected. I didn't know. I just knew it felt bad. I just feel like I let people down, especially because we're in first place and the race is really close. You already have one person out, so I don't want to be the person coming out. It just really [stinks]."
Before he left the game before the eighth inning, he hit a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh inning, breaking the tie with the Padres to lead the Reds to a 7-6 victory on Tuesday. Phillips left Sunday's game in Colorado with the same calf injury and was back in the lineup. The team called it a mild strain after the game, but told Sheldon, "the calf is no bueno right now."
The Reds have gone 12-3 since an MRI showed Votto had torn cartilage in his left knee that required surgery. Votto had surgery on July 17 and could return for the series against the Pirates that starts on Friday, but said he wasn't going to rush back.
"If my body's telling me I can't, I won't be ready," Votto told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I work everyday to make sure that's sooner than later."
Votto told Fay before Tuesday's game that he expects to start hitting soon and doesn't expect it take him long to be ready after he's cleared medically.
Phillips has taken over the third spot in the Reds' lineup since Votto was placed on the DL. In 14 games without Votto, Phillips has hit .327/.357/.577 with three home runs.
Wilson Valdez moved from shortstop to second base after Phillips left the game. He could play more there, along with veteran Miguel Cairo. If Phillips remains out when Votto returns, Todd Frazier could play second base. Frazier, who has also filled in at third base for Scott Rolen this season, has played 39 games in the minors at second base and spent much of his time in the minors as a shortstop.