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After 1 day on IL, Votto HRs; Senzel out

@m_sheldon
August 4, 2020

CINCINNATI -- After he missed one day -- but both games of Sunday’s doubleheader vs. the Tigers -- upon self-reporting symptoms of COVID-19, Reds first baseman Joey Votto was activated from the injured list on Monday. Votto tested negative for the virus and was added to manager David Bell’s lineup

CINCINNATI -- After he missed one day -- but both games of Sunday’s doubleheader vs. the Tigers -- upon self-reporting symptoms of COVID-19, Reds first baseman Joey Votto was activated from the injured list on Monday.

Votto tested negative for the virus and was added to manager David Bell’s lineup for Monday’s 3-2 win over Cleveland. He hit what proved to be the game-winning two-run homer -- his third of the season -- in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“I joked ... that I was having TikTok withdrawals. I deleted the app, and it broke my heart. It’s hard to recover from that sort of thing,” Votto said after the game. “I just woke up not feeling so good. Not feeling so good maybe from the meal the night before, the meal I had. We had a noon game, and noon games, you’re going to try to get there several hours before, prep for it. We got two of them plus travel, get your bags ready, so there’s a lot of stuff going on, and I had very little time to be able to feel out how I was feeling in the morning. I wasn’t feeling perfect when I woke up. I informed them.

“I went back to sleep, woke back up, felt so much better -- not an hour after I was awake did I feel like I could have played. But that’s the situation we’re in. That’s most likely the recommended thing to do. I didn’t want to. I probably could have played the back half of the first game and the second game. Clearly, they didn’t need me, which was great. Then today and yesterday, [to] go through the negative tests, and yeah, I’m glad to be back.”

Votto was not permitted to travel home with the club after Sunday’s doubleheader sweep of Detroit because he was still under protocol rules. He took a car to get home.

“The way things go, if it’s just like it normally is, I anticipate that happening more often, unfortunately, because we have to continue to report any symptoms we have,” Bell said on Monday afternoon. “Hopefully, it’s like it turned out with Joey, and we are relieved he is healthy.”

To clear a spot on the 30-man roster for Votto, the Reds optioned outfielder Aristides Aquino to the team’s alternate training site.

Under the rules, being on the COVID-19-related IL does not require a confirmed positive test for COVID-19. It can also happen if a player exhibits symptoms requiring self-isolation for further assessment.

There is no minimum number of days for players to spend on the COVID-19 IL, but per Major League Baseball protocols, players who have tested positive need two negative tests at least 24 hours apart before being activated to play.

Votto’s homer against Cleveland starter Zach Plesac was No. 287 for his career, and it tied him with Hall of Famer Tony Perez for third all-time in franchise history.

Outfield communication mistake
During Game 1 on Sunday, an error by right fielder Nick Castellanos in the bottom of the sixth inning cost Cincinnati a lead -- but not the game -- in a 4-3 victory. With the bases loaded and two outs with Lucas Sims trying to protect a 3-0 lead, Victor Reyes hit a drive deep to right-center field.

Castellanos appeared to call for the ball as center fielder Nick Senzel approached. As Senzel gave way, Castellanos kept running after the ball. But it skipped in and out of his glove at the warning track as Detroit scored three runs.

Senzel classified the situation as miscommunication.

“I would say I should have called that ball,” Senzel said on Monday. “I should have called him off. I’ll take that on my shoulders. It was my fault.”

Being a second-year player in the big leagues, Senzel has no qualms about calling others away from fly balls he thinks he can get himself.

“I think maybe it was a little bit more difficult last year, because it was my rookie season. I had an experienced right fielder,” Senzel said. “But this year, no. There’s no issue. As an outfield group, we’re going to make the best decision possible. I don’t think, if I call someone off, his feelings are going to get hurt.

“It’s just about catching the ball, really. I don’t think we need to make it more difficult than what it is. I have a better shot to catch it, I’m going to call it. It’s all about communication. In that sort of situation, I should have definitely called him off.”

Injury report
Senzel injured his left ring finger while sliding headfirst into second base with a double in the third inning of Sunday’s Game 2. He was able to stay in the game. After being examined Monday afternoon, Senzel was scratched from the lineup for the game against the Indians. Christian Colón was inserted into the lineup as the DH, Jesse Winker went from the DH to left field and Shogo Akiyama moved over to play center.

“It’s one of those things where I was trying to get to the bag as quick as possible,” Senzel said. “I don’t usually slide headfirst, but I felt like at that time and situation that was going to be the quickest way, and I jammed my finger into the bag. We’ll just see how it feels today.”

Pitcher Wade Miley, who went on the 10-day IL Friday because of a left groin strain, has been progressing well.

“The groin, he isn’t having any issues with it,” Bell said. “His arm feels great. His arm wasn’t an issue. But the extra rest didn’t hurt. His body feels really good. He’s right on track to come back. We don’t have an exact date for his first start. I would think it will be right around the time he’s eligible [on Friday].”

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.