Votto glad to be back with Reds after returning from positive COVID-19 test

Votto thanks everyone who supported him while he was on injured list

Joey Votto returned to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, 11 days after going on the injured list because of a positive COVID-19 test.

“I feel good,” Votto told reporters. “I’m glad to be back, and I’m looking forward to putting the uniform on and joining the team. I miss playing ball. I miss being a part of the group.”

Votto went 4-for-9 in four Cactus League appearances early in spring training. He doesn’t know when he’ll return to the lineup in spring training. He said he was surprised by the positive test but would not comment on what he did when he was on the injured list or whether he was able to train at all. He did thank the Reds medical staff and everyone who helped him.

“I received a lot of support, not only from friends and co-workers,” Votto said. “I got a lot of support from people that I’ve never met before, and I’m thankful and grateful.”

Votto stayed connected to his teammates by following their progress in spring training..

“I didn’t watch any of the games,” Votto said, “just because I check the highlights and check the box scores and speak to guys directly and ask them how they’re feeling and how their work’s going because at this point in spring training statistics only mean so much. It’s more about how guys feel. I think most players would agree with that. But I’m hearing good things, and guys are excited and motivated to get to work, and I can’t wait to join them.”

Votto was feeling good about his performance, offensively and defensively, before the setback.

“I’d like to get back there and beyond,” Votto said. “I had a very poor defensive year last year. Again it was 50 games or so, and that’s not an excuse, but I played really poorly, and I’d like to go into the season feeling sharp defensively. I’ve got teammates that had never seen me. There were times last year where I look over to (Mike) Moustakas after I dropped a ball, and I’d go, ‘Dude, I’m a good defender. I don’t know what’s going on.’

“I’m looking forward to feeling sharp with the bat, of course, and like feeling like I’m dangerous as I mentioned before, and making sure I’m healthy and strong and able to play as often as possible. That’s the goal. I felt like I was trending in that direction. I have to get back to there and beyond.”

NOTES: The Reds fell to 6-14 in the Cactus League with an 11-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Tyler Mahle made his second start of the spring and allowed five earned runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. Kyle Farmer started at shortstop and went 3-for-3. He hit his first home run of the spring.

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