Dizziness sidelines Votto

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

Given his druthers, Joey Votto probably would rather have fouled a ball off his toe or been hit with a fastball on the back of his hand.

The doctor would have taken X-rays of the Cincinnati Reds first baseman, put on a cast and said: "You'll be back in the usual amount of time as soon as the bone heals."

Right now, however, the Etobicoke resident faces the unknown. Sidelined by dizziness, Votto underwent tests again yesterday in Cincinnati and was not in the lineup against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies last night.

"All the tests are negative, so far, and the doctors continued to test," Bob Miller, the Reds' assistant general manager, said yesterday.

Beginning May 7, Votto missed four consecutive starts because of the flu. Then, when the Reds were playing the Diamondbacks in Phoenix, he left in the middle of the fourth inning with dizziness and missed the next game. Votto homered last Friday at San Diego, but felt dizzy on Saturday and again had to leave in the fourth.

After experiencing light-headedness, he was kept for overnight observation at E.W. Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., returning to Cincinnati on Monday. He was examined Tuesday and yesterday.

At the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, fans pray this is not a repeat of Nick Esasky's mysterious injury woes. The first baseman played six seasons but missed most of 1990 with vertigo.

"We haven't found out what it is," Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters in Cincinnati.

"Hopefully, they'll find it out soon. We won't use him as a pinch-hitter. What if he gets dizzy in the batter's box?"

Votto is hitting .366 with five homers and 27 RBIs. He set a record for most games played by a Toronto-born major-leaguer in 2008, appearing in 153 games, batting .297 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs.

He also was a bright light for Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic this spring.


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