CINCINNATI -- With Joey Votto on the disabled list with a left distal quad strain for the second time this season, Reds manager Bryan Price was left to consider his options at first base. With no experienced and/or major league ready first baseman on the roster or in the minors, Price has to get creative.
"I don't want to create a black hole over there," Price said. "I'd like to make that a position where we can kind of rotate people through."
For now, Price will use third baseman Todd Frazier, catcher Brayan Pena, and right fielder Jay Bruce to play the position. Bruce made his professional debut at first base Monday night and, although he committed one fielding error, he did make a couple of decent plays on hard grounders down the line. He started at first base again in the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader.
Pena, who made 12 starts at first base during Votto's first stint on the DL, will be the primary option while catchers Devin Mesoraco and rookie Tucker Barnhart rotate behind the plate.
"At this point in time, that's probably the big three," said Price of Pena, Frazier and Bruce. "That doesn't mean you won't see a bunch of outfielders over there taking grounders."
Left fielder Ryan Ludwick said he's willing to chip in.
"I told them I've got a first base mitt coming," Ludwick said. "Obviously, we're kind of in a bind right now -- a lot of parts or pieces that need to be put in different areas because of certain pieces, and I'm willing to do it."
Votto, who in 2012 signed a 10-year, $225 million contract extension through 2023, was batting .250 with eight doubles, no homers and 11 RBIs since coming off the disabled list on June 10.
Among the minor league options at first base is Donald Lutz, although he's batting just .220 at Triple-A Louisville. Price said Neftali Soto, who's batting .336 at Louisville, is a viable candidate.
With the nonwaiver trade deadline looming on July 31, Price wouldn't rule out acquiring first-base help via a trade.
"We'll see how things unfold over the next couple weeks," Price said. "It's a talking point. We don't have a lot of true first basemen. But we're going to make some over the course of the remainder of the year it looks like."