OF Souza serious about precautions
CINCINNATI — The coronavirus outbreak among the Marlins and the subsequent postponements have been felt around the sports world this week. With the Cubs spending the week on the road, the situation hit home for outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
He has been keeping his eyes and ears open on the topic for a variety of reasons — not only as an athlete attempting to play through a global pandemic but also as someone with a loved one trying to save lives. Souza’s sisterin-law, Morgan Peckman, works in the coronavirus unit at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.
“My sister-in-law is on the front lines,’’ Souza said. ‘‘I mean, she’s on the COVID unit, and she’s a champ, honestly. I’ve talked to her almost every other day. I’m just trying to encourage her because it’s a scary thing when you’re in the middle of that, you know? Some of us don’t see what’s actually happening.
“When you’re in the middle of it, and you’re seeing what’s being impacted, it makes you take everything seriously because she’s doing everything she can, and she’s right next to it. We don’t really see what’s happening around us because there’s a lot of people that are asymptomatic, but she’s seen the people that are symptomatic and how dangerous some of this stuff can be . . . . And so the least I can do and the least we can do is follow the safety protocols so that we can bring some peace of mind.”
Rea in, Maples out
The Cubs recalled right-hander Colin Rea from alternate site South Bend on Thursday and optioned right-hander Dillon Maples.
Maples struggled to find his command in limited action. He walked four batters in Wednesday’s 12-7 loss to the Reds. He allowed two earned runs and one hit with one strikeout in his two appearances.
“There’s a lot of guys that can figure some things out later,” manager David Ross said. “He owned it like a man and understood he had to get better, and you know that’s a powerful thing. When guys are making excuses or blaming other people, then it’s tough, and you feel like they may not have a future. But when he’s owning it and understands he has to get better and improve, I think that’s a great place to start.”
It has been a long road for Maples, who has been with the organization since being drafted in 2011. He has always had electric stuff, but harnessing it has been the thing that has kept him from becoming a key member of the bullpen. Despite the setback, Ross isn’t ready to pull the plug just yet.
“It’s just about figuring out what really clicks for him,” Ross said. “It could be something a player says, could be something a coach says, could be some information that he finds on some of our technology or video.
‘‘But I’m not ready to give up on Dillon Maples. His stuff is real. I just think it may be taking a little bit longer than sometimes we want.”
Cubs outfielder Steven Souza Jr.’s sister-in-law works in the coronavirus unit at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.