Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips a reliable duo in Cincinnati Reds infield

By Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange
Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
1 of 3 | Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Reds might be in the midst of a rebuilding project, but the right side of their infield has been a model of stability for the past eight seasons.

On Saturday night, first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips played together for the 1,000th time, the most on the right side of the infield for any tandem in Reds history.


"It's been a great marriage together," Votto said. "It's been a really nice run so far. He's a real treat to play beside."

It's a marriage that almost dissolved this past offseason when the Reds had agreed to a trade to send Phillips to the Washington Nationals. Phillips, however, invoked his no-trade rights and the deal fell through.

At age 34, Phillips isn't as dazzling defensively as he was while earning four Gold Glove Awards, but he's still very good in the field and his swinging the bat as well as ever this season, homering in four straight games for the first time in his career.

Votto got off to a slow start at the plate this season but is coming off a 2015 campaign in which he finished third in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting.


The pair helped lead the Reds to two NL Central titles and three postseason appearances in five years and own five Gold Gloves between them.

"It's an honor playing next to (Votto)," said Phillips. "We have a great relationship. No one knows Joey like I do. We talk a lot about a lot of things, not just baseball. He's starting to loosen up and smile more."

Sunday's 5-4 loss to Milwaukee was their 1,001st game together.

Phillips and Votto are the longest standing right-side duo since second baseman Davey Lopes and first baseman Steve Garvey played 1,038 games together for the Dodgers. The longest such streak in MLB history belongs to Houston Astros' legends Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell.

"Our relationship has grown," Votto said. I care about his success, for him as a person and for his family. That's the sort of thing that comes over a thousand games."

Manager Bryan Price said Votto and Phillips' longevity speaks to their talent.

"They strive to greatness, and they're getting their just rewards," he said.

Price isn't sure what to think about the newest addition to the Votto-Phillips relationship: a home run celebration involving a ballet-type leap


"They don't run that through the manager's office," said Price. "That's their own unique flavor."

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