Votto glad Reds have his back
Support of teammates eases pressure of MVP award
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Battling a touch of the flu, Joey Votto arrived on Thursday morning at the Reds Player Development Complex and found, as usual, a stack of mail awaiting him at his seat.Votto pushed aside the boxes and began to throw on his workout clothes, right about the time manager Dusty Baker was telling reporters that he would be sending the reigning National League MVP home for the day. Votto, though, didn't deem himself sick enough to go home. He was here to work. "[Votto's] very disciplined, very focused," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "The great players that I've been around are built just like that, whether it's Albert Pujols or Mark McGwire. Those guys are very focused and disciplined in everything they do." You could say that with great trophies come great responsibilities. But Votto, thus far, isn't letting the distractions that can come with his newfound national fame detract from his discipline. Like a touch of the flu, it's all tolerable. Because, while Votto might now be a marked man for opposing pitchers, visiting media and every autograph hound worth his or her Sharpie, he takes comfort in knowing the Reds have his back. "It's really nice to play for a winning team," Votto said. "When I say that, it sounds like I'm going off track [from talking about myself], but I'm not, really. It's nice to play for a team where everybody gets to share the load. It's a great thing. It takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders."
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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.