Price tired of talking about Votto’s sore knee

Unfortunately for Price and Votto, everything gets dissected over the course of a 162-game season. The health of the team’s best player will always be a hot topic.

“He’s out there giving it everything he’s got,” said Price on Friday before the start of a three-game series against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park. “It’s very difficult to talk about on a daily basis, to be honest with you. He’s not 100 percent. He’s not going to be 100 percent. We hope we can extract everything we can out of him when he’s in the lineup.”

Votto is hitting .263 in 21 appearances since his return from the disabled list June 10. He has seven doubles and 10 RBIs in that span, but no home runs. He hasn’t homered since May 10.

Votto didn’t start Wednesday as the Reds lost 3-0 in San Diego and were swept by the Padres, but he pinch hit and said that didn’t count as an off day. He did get Thursday off like the rest of the team. It was the Reds’ first off day since June 16.

Every little bit of time off helps, Votto said, but don’t expect him to get much rest.

“It’s my responsibility to go out there and do everything I can and play the best I can,” Votto said. “That’s my job.”

Simon’s workload: Alfredo Simon started the first game of the series Friday. Before that start, he had already thrown 102 2/3 innings, 15 more than he threw last season out of the bullpen.

Simon is well on his way to setting a career high in innings pitched. The last time he was a starting pitcher, he threw a career-high 115 2/3 innings with Baltimore in 2011.

“He’s 32 years old,” Price said. ” He’s been pitching for an awful long time, not just in the states, but in winter ball, down in the Mexican league years ago. I think it’s a little bit different than taking a kid out of college and saying we want 220 innings out of you.

“He’s been our most durable relief pitcher over the last couple of years as far as how he bounces back. He could pitch three innings and come back the next day and do it again.”

Today’s game: Homer Bailey (8-4, 4.39 ERA) opposes Milwaukee’s Matt Garza (5-5, 4.10) in the second game of the series at 4:10 today. Bailey returns to the mound after his best outing of the season. He threw nine scoreless innings against the Giants on Sunday.

Looking ahead: The Reds will honor the Nasty Boys before Monday’s game against the Cubs. Randy Myers, Norm Charlton and Rob Dibble, star relievers on the 1990 World Series championship team, will throw out simultaneous first pitches.

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