Reds' Williamson to miss start as team's COVID-19 outbreak worsens

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati Reds left-hander Brandon Williamson tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss his scheduled start on Sunday. He is the fourth Reds pitcher to test positive this week, further jeopardizing the team's postseason chances.

Starter Hunter Greene was placed on the COVID-19 injured list following his 4-1 win at San Francisco on Aug. 30. Right-handed relievers Fernando Cruz and Ben Lively were placed on the list between games of Friday's doubleheader against the Cubs.

Manager David Bell said a couple of support staff members have tested positive as well.

“When I say they're out, they're out," Bell said. “They're feeling bad.”

The Reds recalled right-handers Brett Kennedy and Lyon Richardson and added right-hander Carson Spiers as a substitute player. The return of right-hander Tejay Antone, who missed the 2022 season and most of this year following multiple Tommy John surgeries, will also add to the Reds' bullpen depth.

The Reds entered Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs just one game back of an NL wild-card spot, and they are taking no chances. They have reinstated some of the protocols that were in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We're taking some precautions, for sure,” Bell said. “Not letting anyone in the clubhouse. We've asked anyone who's absolutely not necessary to not be in there.”

Bell said Greene is still in San Francisco and is feeling better, and he expects those currently on the COVID-19 injured list to return in the required minimum seven days. He's hopeful that no more players or staff will become ill.

“We were very closely connected as a team. We were together in close quarters,” Bell said. "It could be worse, a lot worse.”