Cincinnati Reds relieved as Joey Votto returns to lineup

Reds begin two-game series in Cincinnati against Indians on Monday

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

The Cincinnati Reds doubled their season win total Sunday. As far as nine-inning victories go, they remain stuck on two, but the two seven-inning victories against the Detroit Tigers in a doubleheader count the same.

With almost one-sixth of the 60-game season in the books, the Reds (4-5) were only a half game out of the playoff picture in the National League Central Division thanks to the expanded postseason.

“It was humongous,” center fielder Nick Senzel said. “We knew those were two big games. There was a chance of rain, but our focus was was solely on getting those two games in and winning those two games. As a team, we were focused. We were focused in the dugout. We were focused on the field.”

The Reds got more good news Monday before the opener of a two-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park. First baseman Joey Votto came off the injured list after a brief illness and returned to the starting lineup after missing the doubleheader Sunday.

“The big relief for us is he’s OK,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It’s also a relief for the rest of the team, knowing we had been traveling together and the virus isn’t an issue here. It’s not something that’s getting passed around on our first road trip. We continue to feel really good about doing everything we can to protect each other.”

The Reds lost Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel for three games each in the first full week of the season because they were ill. Each tested negative for COVID-19.

Votto was able to return to the lineup in a shorter time under similar circumstances. Bell hopes that’s the norm moving forward in the 60-game season.

“You have to make sure someone is healthy and they’re not a risk to themselves or anybody else before we allow them to come back,” Bell said. “Once we know that, if there’s a real efficient way to get them back to the team ... that seems to be what happened this time. I know each case has been slightly different. It wouldn’t surprise me if everyone involved in that process gets used to working together and it will become more efficient over time. Today was a really good sign.”

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