|Joey Votto hasn't played in a game since July 16. (Getty Images)|
Joey Votto's headed up I-75 from Cincinnati this week to begin his rehab assignment with Class A Dayton of the Midwest League, Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters. Votto could be activated in time for the Reds' series next weekend in Houston.
Votto said he was told of the plan on Saturday. He will play in Dayton on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I'm a little apprehensive because I haven't played in such a long time," Votto told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. "Once I get going, I will feel fine."
Votto has been taking batting practice and fielding practice over the last week. Votto underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 17 and then re-injured the knee practicing sliding on Aug.8, which led to another surgery on Aug. 10 to remove loose cartilage.
"We're hoping he'll be ready sometime next weekend," Baker said (via Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer).
The Reds play three games in Arizona starting Monday and have a day off Thursday before going to Houston for three. Dayton is at home through Friday. The Dragons' Fifth Third Field is 45 minutes or so up I-75 from Great American Ball Park. The team's other close affiliate, Triple-A Louisville, is at home on Tuesday and Wednesday, but then leaves for three games. If he's not ready after two games in Dayton, the Bats return home on Sunday, Sept. 2. Double-A Pensacola starts a season-ending five-game homestand on Thursday.