Working out for the weekend
Cubs play 5-inning simulated game to maintain sharpness
The Cubs held their first of two workouts at Wrigley Field on Sunday, playing a five-inning simulated game to get players some additional work. The team had to switch gears after its weekend series in St. Louis was postponed because of the Cardinals’ recent COVID-19 outbreak.
The unexpected days off provide the Cubs with some additional rest, but they’re making sure they stay sharp ahead of their quick two-game series in Cleveland. Manager David Ross is keeping things light while also making sure his team is ready to go when it restarts Tuesday.
“I think the fun part is that we get to come to work together where we all feel super-safe in this environment,” Ross said. ‘‘So that’s a nice positive for us. Really good energy at our workout today. It would be really easy to not focus on a day like today. It was hot out there, and I think you get over an intrasquad atmosphere really fast with no noise, and we didn’t have the crowd noise and no fans. Guys gave great energy. It was fun.
“We’re all holding up fine. I think the tricky part is off-the-field stuff. I think these guys have been hanging out a lot together and doing things together and things that they can do in environments that they can control. I think all of that is a positive.”
Happ pleased with MLB response
Facing a team with a recent coronavirus outbreak might be an iffy proposition for players these days, and having the confidence that the health and safety protocols are followed to a T is the only way to ensure that.
While the series with the Cardinals never materialized, the Cubs were prepared for any scenario, including play
ing all three games despite the growing uncertainty.
“We talked about it as a team, and we trusted the process of the league,” center fielder Ian Happ said. “We trusted that the testing they were doing, as shown, would pick up any positives and that they would do a good job making sure that we were safe. And they did. We were completely prepared to play. We were ready to go and get those three games in, but obviously the testing protocols worked. They did a great job of picking everything up and making sure that the process was taken care of when it pertains to the direct contacts, and making sure that they took the right amount of time.”
Cubs adjust rotation
The postponed series allows the Cubs to realign their rotation before the series against the Indians.
Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks will start Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood and Alec Mills will face the Brewers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Mills pitched five innings in Sunday’s sim game, throwing 58 pitches.
“I think the factors just came down to how many days off,” Ross said. “Being able to get [Mills], just where he fell in from his last start, to get him that sim game today just lined up for giving each guy the least amount of days off as we possibly could.”
Ian Happ (left, with Albert Almora and Jason Heyward) gave MLB kudos for how it handled the Cardinals series, which was postponed.
Left-hander Jon Lester will pitch the series opener Tuesday against the Indians.