The Cincinnati Reds activated first baseman Joey Votto off the COVID-19 list prior to Friday’s road game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Votto, 38, has been sidelined since testing positive May 3 and he was ecstatic to be able to play in the three-game series in his hometown of Toronto. It will be his first time playing in the city since 2017.
“It just gives me goosebumps. I lose sleep over (playing in Toronto),” said Votto, who started at first base and is batting fourth in Friday’s contest. “There’s great meaning to me, truly great meaning to me. I mean, between being a fan of the team and being raised in this stadium in this team’s backyard.”
The six-time All-Star and 2010 National League MVP is off to a poor start this season. Entering Friday, he had a .122 average with no homers, three RBIs and 29 strikeouts in 74 at-bats.
“I feel like with more information, it gets more complicated and starts spiraling down,” Votto said. “Really, I’ve tried to keep it really simple. … It’s such a simple, fun game. We complicate it at times.”
Votto has a .300 career average with 331 homers and 1,068 RBIs in 1,922 games over 16 seasons with Cincinnati.
Votto also tested positive for COVID-19 in March of 2021.
Meanwhile, the Reds placed left-hander Ross Detwiler on the bereavement list as well as putting infielder Brandon Drury, outfielder Albert Almora and right-handers Joel Kuhnel and Tyler Mahle on the restricted list.
Teams have been putting unvaccinated players on the restricted list prior to series in Toronto. The Canadian government requires a person to have received a second COVID-19 vaccine — or one dose of Johnson & Johnson — at least 14 days before entering the country.
Cincinnati also brought up three players from Triple-A Louisville: infielder Taylor Motter, outfielder Aristides Aquino and right-hander Graham Ashcraft.
The Reds were unable to replace Mahle because he pitched 6 1/3 innings on Thursday. MLB rules prohibit the replacement of a pitcher who worked at least four consecutive innings within three days of a series in Toronto.
–Field Level Media