Matt Davidson, who started Opening Day as the designated hitter, was placed on the 10-day injured list after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
Davidson is the Reds’ first known player to test positive since they began intake testing at the start of preseason camp on July 1. Derek Dietrich and one unidentified Reds player tested positive before arriving at camp.
Davidson wasn’t the only roster move. Catcher Tucker Barnhart was placed on the paternity list. Barnhart can miss up to three games on the paternity list, and then it’s possible he could miss additional games because he needs to clear COVID-19 testing.
The Reds called up outfielder Aristides Aquino and pitcher Tejay Antone. Aquino, the National League player of the month last August, will be a backup outfielder. Antone will make his MLB debut in his first game. He impressed during camp and will be used in the bullpen.
Davidson was in the dugout during Friday’s season opener, but the Reds had their usual lineup for Saturday’s game.
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RALEY RETURNS: Brooks Raley pitched the ninth inning in Friday’s 7-1 win over the Detroit Tigers – and he caught the final out in foul territory – for his first Major League appearance since Sept. 27, 2013.
Raley was hurt in 2014 and then spent the last five seasons pitching for the Lotte Giants in Korea.
“I went over there because I had some holes in my game,” Raley said. “I had things to learn and develop. You kind of go rebuild yourself, change your tires, whatever you want to call it.
“You kind of get stuck over here at times in the development process. You don’t quite understand why you come out after five scoreless innings and 75 pitches. You kind of lose that killer instinct. But I went and found that. I found my edge again. I feel like I’ve shown people and have changed a lot of minds based on who I was before I left.”
Raley was a starting pitcher in Korea, making at least 30 starts every year, but the Reds are counting him to bolster the bullpen. He’s an option to serve as a long reliever with Lucas Sims.
It may not be the Major Leagues, but Raley said the Korea Baseball Organization doesn’t receive enough credit for its quality of play.
“For me, I had to learn to change eye levels, pitch up and down because those hitters are really good,” he said. “They all had a leg kick. We had a juiced baseball. We had short outfields so I learned to keep the ball on the ground and be efficient so I learned a lot over there in those situations and competitions.”
For a couple of months, there were KBO games but no MLB games.
“All of a sudden, you’re seeing your friends playing on ESPN every night,” said Raley, smiling. “It’s, ‘you’re kidding me, I chose the wrong year to come home.’ I’m very excited for them.”
Raley said he was always confident himself that he could make the team. When manager David Bell and general manager Nick Krall told him in the manager’s office, he said he was speechless.
It was just as special for him playing on Opening Day and catching the final out.
“Oh yeah, I definitely kept that (ball),” Raley said. “When it says Opening Day on it, you’re not going to lose that one. It was something special.”
LEADOFF HITTER: Shogo Akiyama hit leadoff throughout spring training and preseason camp, except for one or two days, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him sixth in the lineup Saturday.
Jesse Winker hit leadoff as the designated hitter with Akiyama playing left field.