Bryant in COVID pro­to­col

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY RUSSELL DORSEY, STAFF RE­PORTER rdorsey@sun­times.com | @Russ_Dorsey1

Cubs third base­man Kris Bryant thanked Reds in­fielder Mike Mous­takas last week for self-re­port­ing his COVID-19 symp­toms, say­ing it would em­power play­ers around Ma­jor League Base­ball to do the same.

On Satur­day, Bryant did the same thing. He was scratched from the Cubs’ lineup min­utes be­fore their game against the Pi­rates be­cause of gas­troin­testi­nal is­sues, which fall un­der the list of COVID-19 symp­toms.

On Sun­day, man­ager David

Ross said Bryant wasn’t avail­able be­cause he’s now in MLB’s COVID-19 pro­to­col.

‘‘It’s strange be­cause we’ve never been in this sit­u­a­tion be­fore as base­ball play­ers,’’ Bryant said Wed­nes­day about sel­f­re­port­ing. ‘‘You say you have the snif­fles, and it’s like you’re judged or looked down upon and stuff like that.

‘‘I told Mous­takas out there — I know he was caught up in the pro­to­col — I thanked him be­cause that’s how we’re go­ing to fin­ish the sea­son . . . . You have to check that box in the sur­vey that we fill out every morn­ing and go from there. But I re­spect ev­ery­body who says they have some­thing.’’

Bryant’s reg­u­larly sched­uled test Fri­day came back neg­a­tive, as did his rapid test Satur­day. He had another reg­u­larly sched­uled test Sun­day and will get another rapid test Mon­day. The ear­li­est Bryant will be able to re­turn is Tues­day against the Roy­als.

Self-re­port­ing symp­toms re­mains one of the big­gest keys to MLB’s ef­forts to keep play­ers safe and pre­vent pos­si­ble out­breaks. Even if those symp­toms end up be­ing un­re­lated to COVID-19, be­ing overly cau­tious is a small price to pay to avoid a po­ten­tial spread of the virus through a club­house and the rest of the ma­jors.

‘‘He re­ally needs to be com­mended for go­ing in and get­ting checked out with all we’ve got go­ing on,’’ Ross said of Bryant. ‘‘We’re try­ing to take the right pre­cau­tions just to keep ev­ery­body safe, but Kris feels much bet­ter to­day.

‘‘That’s where our train­ing staff did a re­ally good job. It’s a unique year and a unique line that they have to walk, and just hav­ing some stom­ach symp­toms with all this go­ing on, we’ve just gotta be safe. Kris did the right thing. He went in and wasn’t feel­ing great, and they checked him.’’

Steele called up; Nor­wood to IL

The Cubs called up left-han­der Justin Steele from their al­ter­nate train­ing site in South Bend, In­di­ana, to pro­vide re­in­force­ments for a bullpen that has got­ten off to a rough start this sea­son.

‘‘He made an im­pres­sion on me in spring train­ing just with the swings that the hit­ters took off of him,’’ Ross said. ‘‘When he’s in the [strike] zone, he’s pretty good. The ball seems to jump out of his hand. Hit­ters don’t seem to pick it up too much.

‘‘He’s been work­ing on some slider me­chan­ics or tin­ker­ing with a slider in South Bend, and that seems to have been play­ing well. I read those re­ports when they send them in each night, and his name kept pop­ping up of a guy that’s trend­ing in the right di­rec­tion.’’

Right-han­der James Nor­wood was put on the 10-day in­jured list with in­flam­ma­tion in his pitch­ing shoul­der to make room for Steele. He has a 16.20 ERA in three ap­pear­ances span­ning 1‰ in­nings.

NAM Y. HUH/AP

Cubs baserun­ner Will­son Con­tr­eras scores on a dou­ble by Kyle Sch­war­ber in the fifth in­ning Sun­day against the Pi­rates.

Kris Bryant

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