Votto headed for rehab assignment

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, on the disabled list since May 30 with stress-related issues, is expected to head to a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday night.

"That was the plan a few days ago," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said before the Reds game against the Atlanta Braves.

Votto took batting practice with his teammates the last two days. Despite speculation that he might want to be ready for the Reds' visit June 23-25 to his hometown of Toronto for an interleague series with the Blue Jays, Baker believed that was optimistic.

"He'd want to go there," said Baker, who was hoping to have Votto back by June 30, when the Reds return from their next road trip. "You always want to go home, but realistically, Toronto is Tuesday. If he left [Thursday], that's not enough time. I'm probably thinking, realistically, after this road trip, to make sure he's super-ready in all departments for the next three months. It's kind of like spring training for him. He's got to get his legs under him, his wind back."

Votto, who also missed several games and had to leave others early in May with dizziness caused by an inner-ear infection, is hitting .357 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs.