Reds 1B Joey Votto tests positive for COVID-19, placed on injured list

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and was placed on the injured list.

Votto missed two games, a doubleheader in Detroit, when he was on the injured list without an injury designation last season after he reported COVID-19 symptoms. There are no minimum or maximum number of days a player can spend on the IL when it’s related to COVID-19.

Players who test positive will have to quarantine for at least 10 days and won’t be allowed to access team facilities during that time, according to the league’s health and safety protocols. Votto will undergo a cardiac evaluation before returning.

Votto gave the Reds permission to announce his positive test publicly. He played six innings Sunday against the San Francisco Giants, recording two hits in three at-bats and scoring a run. He hit a double to center field against Giants right-handed reliever Dominic Leone.

It’s unknown how Votto contracted COVID-19, but the Reds continued their workouts at their spring training complex Wednesday. Players and staff members wear sensors inside team facilities to help with the contact tracing process.

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) stands at first on a single in the first inning of the MLB Cactus League Spring training game between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz., on  Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021.

Votto, who wants to hit for more power this season, has four hits in nine at-bats this spring with one walk and two strikeouts.

“He looks different,” Reds manager David Bell said earlier this week. “I think he would tell you that. I don’t want to speak for him. We’ve had enough conversations. I know that he’s intentionally made some changes and I think it’s showing up. You look at the results and he’s had some hits, which is always nice, even if you’ve had the career he’s had, to get off to a good start is always a good feeling, which is great. But I think the way it looks, I think it’s pretty obvious that his approach at the plate is a little bit different than the last couple of years.”

Major League Baseball and the Players Association announced there were five new positive COVID-19 tests in their latest update on March 5 and 25 total positive tests since the beginning of spring training. Players and staff members are tested every other day through saliva tests, have their temperatures checked twice a day and they complete a daily survey for symptoms.

The Reds had one player test positive for COVID-19 last year, which postponed three games as the team paused all activities to conduct contact tracing.

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