Waiting game nerve-wracking for Cincinnati Reds

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David Bell interview: Aug. 18

Team scheduled to return to action Wednesday with doubleheader

The Cincinnati Reds have played the waiting game — but no actual games — since Friday. They have waited not only for word on when they would return to action, but they have waited each day for the results of their COVID-19 tests.

That’s an experience they’ve grown used to, but it’s been even more nerve-wracking since Friday when a Reds player, who has not been identified, tested positive.

“I’m always doing my home screening in the morning and waiting at the end of the day for those results,” starting pitcher Luis Castillo said. “At the end of the day, I just thank God that I was negative.”

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the Reds hadn’t received any more bad news from testing. Assuming that continues, they will play a doubleheader — two seven-inning games — on the road against the Kansas City Royals starting at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday.

ExploreBauer gives fans inside look at crisis

The opener of the two-game series Tuesday was postponed “out of an abundance of caution and to allow for additional testing within the Cincinnati Reds’ organization,” Major League Baseball announced in a press release. It was the fourth straight day the Reds didn’t play. Their games Saturday and Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates were postponed because of Friday’s positive test, and Major League Baseball decided to be cautious and not play a doubleheader Monday when both teams had scheduled off days.

The positive test result came to the Reds’ attention in the final moments of an 8-1 victory against the Pirates on Friday at Great American Ball Park. Manager David Bell said he got the news between the second-to-last pitch and the last pitch. He believes the organization found out immediately before he did.

For Bell, the next three days felt much like the quarantine period in the spring.

“Obviously, there was a lot of concern about making sure we got all of our testing done each day,” Bell said, “and we got the negative results each night. We’ve been definitely anxious about that. But we’re here. We’re in Kansas City. We’re working out today. We move forward.”

The Reds weren’t allowed to work out as a group until Tuesday. Great American Ball Park was closed to them. However, the players at Prasco Park were allowed to train, and pitcher Luis Castillo said he, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer got some work done at Xavier University on Monday.

Castillo will start the first game of the doubleheader Wednesday and will be followed by Bauer.

The Reds (9-11) have seen the Milwaukee Brewers (10-10) and St. Louis Cardinals (5-5) pass them in the standings since they last played. They’re 4½ games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs.

Even with the three postponed games, the Reds aren’t too far behind the rest of the division. All five teams have seen games postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests on their roster or the opponent’s roster.

“When it hits close to home, it’s going to be very concerning,” Bell said. “We care about one another. We’re doing everything we can to win a game. It’s so important to us. We care so much about that. Immediately, it’s put in perspective, as it should be. We can’t wait to play and compete and pick up where we left off Friday, but our No. 1 concern is the health of our team.”

WEDNESDAY’S GAMES

Reds at Royals, doubleheader beginning at 5:05 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410