CIN@CLE: Votto singles home Pena in the third

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In 10 Cactus League games, Reds first baseman Joey Votto is hitting just .200 with 11 strikeouts in 25 at-bats, but manager Bryan Price isn't the slightest bit concerned.

In fact, given Votto's past regular-season success and his past Spring Training struggles, Price is inclined to say Votto is right on track.

"He likes to see pitches, and I think he likes to settle in," Price said. "Now, lately, he's been swinging more at pitches early in the count if he gets something good to hit. It's a process. I think he's a real methodical-preparation guy. We've seen this before. It's just the way he gets ready."

Price compared Votto's spring philosophy to that of Edgar Martinez, whom he spent time with as both a player and a coach in the Mariners' organization. Martinez would try to work his way into as many games or live scrimmages as possible, with the sole purpose of seeing pitches to work on timing.

Votto's spring has been by no means dreadful. He has a pair of doubles, three walks and has knocked in three runs.

"He's following his protocol," Price said. "I think he has a good understanding of what he needs to do over the course of a Spring Training to be ready."

Simon bounces back against Dodgers

CIN@LAD: Simon fans three, holds Dodgers to one run

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Stating his case that he can be a starter for the Reds, Alfredo Simon tossed 4 1/3 solid frames on Thursday in an 8-2 win against the Dodgers, allowing a run on five hits while striking out three and bouncing back from a disappointing start in his last time out.

Simon didn't give up a hit in his first two starts, but neither was longer than three innings. After he allowed five runs in four shaky frames against the Cubs on Saturday, there were questions about whether the Reds would be able to stretch him out. Simon is hoping he answered some of those.

"I feel comfortable right now to pitch every five days," Simon said. "I just have the rhythm. I was a starter with Baltimore, and I just feel really comfortable. All my pitches worked really good."

Simon could factor into the Reds' rotation plans should Mat Latos (knee) not recover in time to make the Opening Day roster.

In 19 starts at the big league level, Simon is just 3-9 with a 5.15 ERA. His numbers are much better out of the 'pen.

"I don't put that in my mind," Simon said. "I know I'm a starter here in Spring Training, and I just try to do the best that I can. If they're going to need me as a starting pitcher, I'm ready for that. I don't put anything in my mind -- whether I'm throwing one inning, three innings. I'm just trying to get ready for when the season starts."

Simon didn't allow a hit his first time through the Dodgers' order, but he did run into some trouble when he started seeing hitters a second time. That's something he'll have to adjust to should the Reds keep him in a starting role.

"It's different because when you work twice with the same hitter, you throw your slider, then they're looking slider, so you throw two-seamer," Simon said. "That's really tough [on the hitter]."

Latos, Broxton ready for next steps in rehabs

Mat Latos on his health and what to expect in 2014

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two, and possibly three, injured Reds pitchers will take steps in their recovery programs on Friday, as right-handers Mat Latos and Jonathan Broxton are each scheduled to throw and could be joined by left-hander Sean Marshall.

Latos will throw live batting practice for the first time since a pair of offseason surgeries -- on his elbow in October and on his knee in February. He used all his pitches in an extended bullpen session on Tuesday and felt fine.

Broxton is slated for a bullpen session on Friday with hitters standing in the box, which manager Bryan Price said could be the final step before Broxton can appear in a game. The Reds are shooting for Monday.

"If everything goes well with Jonathan, there's a chance he could throw an inning against Cleveland," Price said. "He'd obviously have to get through tomorrow's bullpen, but there's been no reason to think he's not going to pitch on the 17th."

Marshall, meanwhile, may throw a bullpen on Friday, but the Reds don't want to rush things with the left-hander, who is battling shoulder tendinitis.

Marshall had his throwing program halted late last week when the tendinitis flared up, but he has resumed throwing from flat ground and has looked sharp, according to Price.

"We're real happy with how he's rebounded after a few days off," Price said. "After reinitiating his throwing program, he hasn't had any setbacks, and he feels really good.

"He's definitely behind schedule, but if we don't have any setbacks and we're optimistic, he'll be ready at least within that first week or two of the regular season."

Worth noting

• Third baseman Jack Hannahan got his first at-bat of the spring on Thursday, flying out to center in a sixth-inning pinch-hit appearance. Hannahan is recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum and is not healthy enough to play in the field yet.

Todd Frazier was at first base on Thursday, as Price continued his infield carousel this spring. Price explained the move by saying he simply wanted to see Ramon Santiago at third base, while still getting Frazier his at-bats.