Reds president praises MLB protocols for minimizing COVID-19 spread

Dick Williams interview (Aug. 19)

Cincinnati returns to the field Wednesday after missing three games due to player's positive test

Manager David Bell learned a Cincinnati Reds player had tested positive for COVID-19 just before the final pitch Friday. President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams heard the news minutes before Bell.

“I got a call from Major League Baseball during the top of the ninth,” Williams said Wednesday. “I went to the clubhouse immediately in order to pass the information along. Based on my discussion with Major League Baseball, we handled it the best way we could in order to minimize any contact from that point forward.”

The player who tested positive has not been identified. As of Wednesday, as the Reds prepared to return to action for the first time since Friday in a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals, no other players or staff members had tested positive.

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Williams said three other players who were in close contact with the player will have special travel arrangements during the road trip to Kansas City and St. Louis. That group of players will travel separately from the rest of the team even though all have been cleared to play and none have tested positive to this point. They will also undergo more testing than their teammates in the days ahead.

“I think we’re all very glad that as of now there’s no indication there’s any outbreak,” Williams said. “I do credit the players and staff and the protocols for that. There is obviously a concern with any positive test. It does give us a peace of mind that if you follow the protocols it doesn’t mean it has to turn into an outbreak. You can keep going. I hope other teams look at that as well and understand the importance of following the protocols. Even if you do have a positive test, keeping it to one positive test is a huge part of this.”

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Players have been tested often since Friday, so they have been getting results every evening. Williams said they were in a “constant state of waiting for new results” and it’s not a great feeling.

“The anxiety certainly has the ability to affect some people more than others,” Williams said. “It’s difficult. What we’ve learned about the virus is when you’re being tested every couple of days, you’re not going to feel sick and then go out and get tested and it confirms it. It’s almost always going to detect a positive before the onset of symptoms.”

Williams will start to feel confident no one else was affected by this positive test if the team continues to tests negative for the next couple of days, but he said everyone needs to approach the rest of the season as if they’re never in the clear.

“You never want to let your guard down,” he said.

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