Symp­toms turned out to be just a scare as he starts in left field against Roy­als

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - rdorsey@sun­ RUS­SELL DORSEY | @Russ_Dorsey1

In a world in which base­ball tries to play through a global pan­demic as teams bat­tle out­breaks, it’s never wrong to be cau­tious. The Cubs and third base­man Kris Bryant ex­pe­ri­enced that first­hand.

Bryant was back in the lineup

Mon­day against the Roy­als af­ter miss­ing the last two games. He had self-re­ported some coro­n­avirus symp­toms.

Af­ter be­ing given a clean bill of health be­fore the game, Bryant de­tailed his ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing cleared through MLB’s COVID-19 pro­to­col.

“It was a process,” Bryant said. “Just be­fore the game the other day, I was just look­ing for some relief from a symp­tom that I had. I didn’t even think twice about it, but con­sid­er­ing what is go­ing on around the league and how se­ri­ous this thing is, our team doc­tor thought it was ap­pro­pri­ate to just be overly cau­tious with it. And that’s it.

“I went and did the nasal swab and a cou­ple of saliva tests. Deep down, I didn’t re­ally have much con­cern. It just kind of caught me off guard, too. Just the whole process.

‘‘But it’s a great thing that I went through it be­cause if I did have [COVID-19], that’s how it starts. One per­son and it seems like half the team gets it. So I think it’s just re­ally im­por­tant to keep up with those pro­to­cols and re­ally take it as se­ri­ously as we can.”

While Bryant’s symp­toms turned out to be just a scare for the Cubs, it shines a brighter light on the im­por­tance of player ac­count­abil­ity, which may ul­ti­mately save the sea­son from be­ing can­celed. Then again, maybe not.

MLB an­nounced in a press re­lease that 13 Car­di­nals play­ers and staffers have tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus in the league’s lat­est out­break.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Car­di­nals play­ers didn’t fol­low league pro­to­cols be­fore their pos­i­tive tests, which may have led to the out­break.

Mar­lins pres­i­dent Derek Jeter told re­porters Mon­day that play­ers had be­come re­laxed on so­ciald­is­tanc­ing and wear­ing masks.

“Some of our trav­el­ing party had a false sense of se­cu­rity and com­fort,” Jeter said.

MLB is ex­pected to in­crease its guide­lines for teams when they’re on the road.

“As far as more rules, more re­stric­tions, more guide­lines, there’s def­i­nitely been talk about it,” said out­fielder Ian Happ, who’s the Cubs’ MLBPA player rep.

“The lat­est that I’ve seen, the Cubs are ex­ceed­ing what the cur­rent guide­lines are and would be well within com­pli­ance with what fu­ture guide­lines or re­stric­tions would be.”

The Car­di­nals had their fourgame se­ries against the Tigers post­poned and have had seven post­pone­ments be­cause of the re­cent out­break. MLB’s ten­ta­tive plan is for the Car­di­nals to re­sume play on Fri­day, when the Cubs head to St. Louis.

Teams around base­ball have looked to em­u­late the Cubs, who re­main the only team in base­ball with­out a pos­i­tive COVID-19 test for a player. Ac­count­abil­ity among play­ers and staff as well as strict health and safety guide­lines have a lot to do with it.

The Cubs also named di­rec­tor of team travel and club­house op­er­a­tions Vi­jay Tekchan­dani as their COVID com­pli­ance of­fi­cer. He’ll be the point per­son on all corona virus re­lated is­sues.

“Theo [Ep­stein] and Jed [Hoyer] did a great job of think­ing through what we would need,’’ Happ said. ‘‘The way that the en­tire staff has op­er­ated [has been great] — the way that they’ve been com­pli­ant and thought through ev­ery­thing from on-field to food, ho­tels, buses. You guys know Vi­jay is an ab­so­lute stud. So just ev­ery­thing from top to bot­tom has been su­per-pro­fes­sional. And I think that’s why we’re ahead on a lot of those things.”


Kris Bryant warms up be­fore the game Mon­day (left), then hits a dou­ble (above) in the first in­ning against the Roy­als.

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