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Cincinnati Reds add Derek Dietrich to player pool after his bout with COVID-19

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He’s reportedly in ‘the best shape of his life.’

Cincinnati Reds v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

It was an odd, nebulous explanation for why Derek Dietrich had not yet reported to summer camp with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds had kept several spaces open on their 60-man ‘roster,’ and noted at the time camp began that the idea of adding Dietrich at a later date was something they would consider, but after showing up to Goodyear, AZ with a healthy shoulder back in March, it was odd how that series of moves went down publicly.

Privately, it was a bit more obvious. And after Dietrich was added to the Reds player pool today and officially reported, that private news became public for the first time, and things immediately made more sense. Dietrich, it turns out, had tested positive for COVID-19, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon relayed.

Dietrich, who performed at star-level at times in 2019 when healthy, reportedly had ‘mild’ symptoms, but as he told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, is currently in ‘the best shape of [his] life.’

When his shoulder wasn’t barking last year, Dietrich showed enough pop and defensive versatility to warrant inclusion on most any big league roster, and said shoulder was apparently fixed over the winter. While he’s not on the active roster now, there is certainly still a chance he’s selected come Opening Day, assuming he swings the kind of bat the over the next week as he has when healthy in previous years. If it does take him a bit longer to get back up to speed, though, it certainly seems prudent to get him reps with the taxi squad at Prasco Park and have him as a potential addition later on.

One thing is for sure, however, and that’s that having Dietrich in camp is going to increase the energy level, as the dude showed time and time again last year just how energetic and fun-loving he can be. The Reds don’t play the Pittsburgh Pirates until August 13th, though, so he’s got a bit more time to get into playing shape before that opportunity to feast.