TODAY: Moustakas has already been reinstated from the IL, and Dawson was optioned back to Triple-A. The Reds also announced that recently-designated right-hander Robert Dugger cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. Dugger has accepted the outright assignment, the team announced Wednesday.
MAY 9: The Reds announced to reporters, including Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer, that Mike Moustakas has been placed on the injured list. No designation was given for Moustakas’ placement, which suggests he will be on the Covid-related injured list. Outfielder Ronnie Dawson has been called up as a substitute player.
The Reds have had a series of players go on the Covid list in the past week, with Moustakas now joining Joey Votto and Nick Senzel. Tyler Naquin was also in that category but was able to return a few days ago. The team didn’t specify whether Moustakas tested positive, has virus-like symptoms, or was exposed to someone who tested positive. Under the league’s 2022 health-and-safety protocols, players who test positive are subject to a 10-day absence from the club, though it’s possible to be reinstated in less time if the player has gone 24 or more hours without a fever, received a pair of negative PCR tests, and been given approval from a team physician and the MLB/MLBPA joint committee (a panel of one league-appointed and one union-appointed physician). If Votto is “merely” dealing with symptoms, he could return in shorter order. Players who test negative can return once their symptoms dissipate, so long as they’re cleared by the joint committee and the team doctor.
For Moustakas, this is his second IL stint of the season, as he missed some time in April due to a biceps strain. Since returning, he had been on a hot streak, hitting .344/.462/.531 in that small sample. But that will now be stalled by this second trip to the IL. It’s yet another frustrating development for the Reds, as the club is off to a miserable 5-23 start, thanks in part to so many players being out of action, either for Covid or otherwise.
As for Dawson, this is the second time he’s been a substitute player to help the club try to get through this outbreak. Under the 2022 health and safety protocols, the commissioner’s office has the sole discretion to determine whether a team has been sufficiently impacted by COVID to call up “substitute” players. If granted permission, the team can then return those substitutes back to Triple-A (and, if he was not previously on the 40-man, off the roster entirely) without utilizing a minor league option or passing the player through waivers.
Dawson already went through this process, being selected to the club last week but then being removed when Naquin returned. He only got into a single game while on the roster, going hitless in three plate appearances. In 28 Triple-A games this year, the 26-year-old is hitting .267/.373/.436.