Cincinnati Reds veteran Joey Votto to start season on IL

Cincinnati Reds veteran Joey Votto will begin the year on the injured list, snapping a streak of 14 consecutive seasons starting for the Reds on Opening Day.

Votto said at a news conference Monday that he will begin a Triple-A rehab assignment later this week and rejoin the major league team when he's ready.

The 39-year-old first baseman underwent surgery on his left rotator cuff last August and is still working his way back.

"What led me to that decision was just not being ready," Votto said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Starting a good bit behind during spring training. Still working through some of the rehab process. Not accumulating enough time in the field.

"Not accumulating enough at-bats. [Sunday] was the first day where I felt semi-close to being able to play close to 100%. It takes a stretch of time feeling that way before you feel like you are regular-season ready."

A six-time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP, Votto hit just .205 last season with 11 homers and 41 RBIs. He is heading into the final season of the 10-year, $225 million extension he signed with the Reds in 2012.