Bell: Reds have to get ‘comfortable with the uncomfortable’

Everyone healthy as workouts begin in Cincinnati

Great American Ball Park opened its doors to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday for the first workout of Summer Camp, a three-week practice period that will lead up to the 60-game season.

NEW RULES: Bell gives his thoughts on 2020 changes

This was no normal practice from years past. Manager David Bell and General Manager Nick Krall talked in front of the dugout while wearing masks. Reliever Amir Garrett left the dugout wearing a mask. Every media member — there will be a limit of 35 credentials per day all season — wore masks, whether they were watching the practice from suites in right field or shooting photos from behind the dugouts.

More than three months after the season was scheduled to begin and almost four months since spring training was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, a different sort of baseball returned — one focused as much on the health and safety of the players as the game itself.

» WORKOUTS BEGIN: Bell focused on keeping players healthy

“It does not feel normal,” Bell told reporters on a Zoom conference call, which is how all interviews will be conducted this season. “I wish it did. In a lot of ways, we feel prepared, for sure, but you’re kind of going into the great unknown. There’s some excitement to that. There’s some anxiety about it. We’re very confident with where we are. But I don’t think that feeling will go away all year. We have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

Players have been trickling into Cincinnati since last weekend, undergoing COVID-19 testing before being cleared for workouts, and five or six worked out at the stadium Thursday. Just seeing everyone together for the first time Friday even if the workouts were staggered with different players taking batting practice or infield at different times did bring back a sense of normalcy for Bell.

The day began with an hour Zoom call with all the players.

“We ran through all the protocols and all that,” Bell said. “It seems overwhelming, but I’ve noticed in the last week or two weeks when I’ve been in the building with more and more players around, you get really used to it and it feels pretty normal, especially when you go out on the field.”

The Reds enter Summer Camp with everyone healthy, Bell said. That includes outfielder Nick Senzel, who underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in September. He said he’s 100 percent now but wouldn’t have been if the season had started on time.

» SUMMER CAMP: Four things to know about Reds roster

“There was probably no chance I was going to be ready for Opening Day,” Senzel said. “I was probably weeks way from that. It so happened I got a couple extra months and was able to go back to the University of Tennessee and rehab multiple times a week. it was good for me and my shoulder. I was able to be home and spend time with friends and family. It finally started to feel like a normal shoulder probably a month ago. it was really a long and grueling process with the shoulder. It’s really tough, but I made it through and stayed positive, and I’m ready to go.”

Senzel described the precautions the Reds are taking because of COVID-19 as “a lot” but “very necessary.”

“In this situation, you can’t only think about yourself,” Senzel said. “You’ve got to think about your teammates and their families and how important it is to follow the rules and regulations for this virus not to spread so we can carry on the season, the 60 games, and make sure at the end everyone is healthy.”

About the Author