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Reds’ Joey Votto on IL with reported virus symptoms

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The Cincinnati Reds placed veteran first baseman Joey Votto on the injured list Sunday before the opener of their doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Votto self-reported coronavirus symptoms Sunday morning but has not tested positive for it.

The Reds did not disclose a reason for the move but specifically announced that Votto is on the IL — not the 10-day IL. There is no minimum or maximum number of days that Votto must remain on the IL.

Cincinnati made a similar move last month with Mike Moustakas after the infielder began experiencing coronavirus symptoms. The Enquirer reported that Moustakas tested negative for COVID-19.

Votto, 36, is batting .259 with two home runs in seven games this season.

The Reds replaced Votto on the active roster with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, who was activated from the 10-day IL and will start the first game Sunday against the Tigers.

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Nationals bring up prospect Luis Garcia, place Starlin Castro on IL

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BALTIMORE — The Washington Nationals are ready to find out if 20-year-old infielder Luis Garcia has the poise and talent to play in the big leagues.

The Nationals selected Garcia’s contract on Friday, a move that coincided with infielder Starlin Castro being placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right wrist. Garcia was in the starting lineup for Washington, prepared to make his major league debut against the Orioles.

Garcia is considered to be one of the top prospects in the minor league system of the defending World Series champion Nationals. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, the slick-fielding middle infielder has hit .281 with 51 doubles, 13 triples, 12 homers and 106 RBIs in 305 career minor league games.

In 2019, Garcia was named the Nationals’ minor league defensive player of the year with Double-A Harrisburg, where he played shortstop and second base. As a 19-year-old, he was the youngest player in the Eastern League.

Also on Friday, the Nationals transferred lefty Sam Freeman to the 60-day injured list with a left flexor mass strain.

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Cardinals manager Mike Shildt says team did nothing ‘egregious’ to cause outbreak

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As he prepares his team for a return to the playing field, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt is defending his players over any narrative that they did something “egregious” to cause the COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined them since July 29.

“What I can tell you, with confidence, is it would be very irresponsible and a misstep to say this group went out and did anything that was egregious,” Shildt said Friday evening. “To say something otherwise, would be inaccurate. Strongly inaccurate.”

Shildt admits his team made smaller mistakes that led them twice to being quarantined, but he’s confident there won’t be any more starts and stops based on their behavior.

“We will be even more prudent with every regulation that is out there,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll have anyone touch anyone on the field the rest of this year. Our dugouts will be even more sterile. We’re going to show up later. Every meeting will be outside. It’s going to be very little time spent in the ballpark.

“I can confidently tell you there was no cavalier approach to this before this happened.”

The Cardinals will play three doubleheaders in Chicago in the coming days as they begin to play catch-up on their schedule. They’ve played just five games this season.

“You could say it’s a fourth chance,” Shildt said. “Spring training, summer camp, an initial quarantine, then another one.”

Out of an abundance of caution — and to keep their distance — each healthy player and staff member drove a rental car from St. Louis to Chicago on Friday.

The Cardinals will play the White Sox and then the Cubs over the next week, with doubleheaders scheduled for Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. To prepare, Shildt said players had individualized workouts beginning on Tuesday of this week but no one who tested positive for COVID-19 has been cleared to play again.

In all, 10 players and eight staff members tested positive. It forced the team to call up players from their alternate training site in Springfield, including top prospect Dylan Carlson. He’ll be in the starting lineup on Saturday. They also reworked their coaching staff by bringing back fan favorite Jose Oquendo to coach third base.

“This is history and we’re going to do our best to learn from others but candidly we’re making it right now,” Shildt stated.

The Cardinals will mix their regular starters in with bullpen days as Adam Wainwright will pitch in Game 1 on Saturday with several relievers taking the ball in Game 2. Dakota Hudson and Kwang-Hyun Kim will get their turns before ace Jack Flaherty sees action on Wednesday for the first time since Opening Day.

Near the end of a long video call with Shildt from his hotel room in Chicago, he was asked if there was ever a moment he thought the Cardinals would not play baseball again this year. “Full disclosure, I had two minute internal dialogue about it and shut it out,” he said.

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Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg leaves start vs. Orioles after 16 pitches

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BALTIMORE — Washington Nationals star right-hander Stephen Strasburg left Friday night’s game after throwing just 16 pitches.

There was no immediate word from the Nationals on the type of injury that forced him off the mound during the first inning of a game against the Orioles.

Strasburg got a late start on the season because of a nerve issue in his right hand. This was his second start, the first coming last Sunday against Baltimore.

Before Friday’s game, Washington manager Dave Martinez spoke about taking it slow with Strasburg, who went 5-0 in the postseason for the 2019 World Series champions.

“Based on our conversations with him, he feels like he can work through this injury,” Martinez said. “But I want to be smart, I really do. I’ve got to be smart, not just for right now but for the future. He’s a big part of our future, a big part of what we do here. So we want to make sure we take care of him.”

Strasburg took the loss in the game he started Sunday, a suspended affair that was completed on Friday before he took the mound for the schedule matchup against the Orioles.

He gave up a solo homer to Anthony Santander before leaving the game after getting the second out of the inning.

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