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