Sick Reds battling stomach virus
Some Reds players dipped into a pot of chicken soup in the dining area of the clubhouse and filled their bowls, trying to get some food gentle on the stomach. Others went into the trainer's room to get more intravenous fluids.
Old remedies and new ones, too, were used for a team nearly flatted by a stomach virus.
The worst seemed to be behind the Reds heading into Wednesday night's 5-3 win against the Cleveland Indians. More than a half-dozen players were hit by the virus before a 7-1 win in the series opener on Tuesday night.
''They are feeling better,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''A couple of guys are getting IVs, but at least they're here and available. Yesterday we were down to, like, a two-man bench.''
The Reds had to change their pitching plans for Wednesday, skipping Mike Leake because he was still weak from the illness. Mat Latos moved up a day and started in his place, allowing two runs in seven innings for the win. Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart also was out of the lineup for a second straight day.
Leake sat in a shirt and shorts in a chair in front of his locker on Wednesday, looking drained. He had just eaten a small bowl of food, trying to regain a little strength so he could start the final game of the series on Thursday afternoon.
''My stomach is better,'' Leake said. ''My legs feel weak. It's going in the right direction though. I'm going to try to eat enough so I can get through tomorrow. I'll play catch and sit and do nothing.''
Cozart came down with the illness on Monday, the team's day off, and had one of the worst cases.
''I'm still a little weak,'' he said on Wednesday. ''I haven't eaten in a day and a half. All I've eaten is bowls of soup — chicken noodle soup.
''I was so weak yesterday that I was cramping up. I couldn't keep any water down. I had two blankets on and I was just shivering.''
He came to Great American Ball Park for treatment on Tuesday and learned he wasn't the only one with the same ailment.
''I came in to see the doc and there were five guys in there,'' said Cozart, who got another IV before Wednesday's win.
Johnny Cueto saved the depleted team on Tuesday night, pitching his second complete game of the season. Joey Votto hit a two-run homer and an RBI single even though he was feeling a little sick and skipped batting practice.
''I wasn't at the same place that other guys were,'' Votto said Wednesday, noting he didn't need an IV. ''I didn't think I needed to sit. I was sick and I could play through it and that's it.''
Baker's main concern was getting his players back in shape.
''I urged them all to eat some soup, drink some water and we hope they feel better tomorrow,'' Baker said.
Votto said it was tough to get through a game with so many players feeling so bad.
''It stinks, but I've heard a lot of them are doing much better,'' he said before batting practice. ''So hopefully it's a one-day thing.''