Joey Votto was in good spirits Friday, as the Reds' franchise player appears ever closer to returning from knee surgery.

"I've come a long way, and I feel like I'm not too far off," Votto said. "I can't really put a day on it. I don't think it's going to be too much longer."

Votto did baseball activities before Friday's game, including hitting and fielding.

The Reds entered Saturday 26-13 without Votto. Votto had surgery on his left knee (torn medial meniscus) on July 17.

His rehab was going well until Aug.8, when Votto reinjured the knee while practicing slides. Votto had a minor procedure Aug.10 to remove loose cartilage, then resumed his rehab.

A large group of reporters surrounded Votto's clubhouse stall as he provided the latest update Friday. Votto smiled and cracked a joke or two, but acknowledged it has been hard to sit out:

"I really miss playing."

Votto also was asked about the Reds' success without him.

"I don't ever get ahead of myself," he said. "I don't think I carry a team or do anything along those lines. I know I fit in. This is a great example of how small an impact players can have. You lose a quarterback in the NFL, that team's in trouble. Look at Indianapolis.