Joey Votto back after COVID-19, unsure when he’ll play

Sam Greene
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Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto returned to camp after sitting out with COVID-19, but when he might be able to play again is still uncertain.

The 37-year-old Votto left camp after a positive test on March 10 and has been isolated since. After being cleared by Major League Baseball, he was back at the Reds’ spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona, but will stay on the injured list until he’s in game shape again.

“I feel good,” the six-time All-Star said. “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 part of the group.”

Votto, who declined to talk about his experience with the virus, couldn’t say how long it will take him to be ready to play or whether he’ll be in the lineup when the Reds open the season April 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Before the positive test he played in four spring training games, going 4 for 9 at the plate. Last season he hit .226 in 54 games, with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs.

“I’m looking forward to feeling sharp with the bat, of course, 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,” he said. “That’s the goal, and I felt like I was trending in that direction, so I have to get there and beyond.”

Cincinnati is counting on Votto to continue the resurgence of success at the plate he showed at the end of last season.

“He’s really had a good camp up until missing time,” general manager Nick Krall said. “So we’re excited to have him back, and it just adds another offensive threat to our lineup.”