Cubs fret about family members in Irma's path
Members of the Cubs with Florida roots and Florida residences are doing their best to cope with the onset of Hurricane Irma.
Outfielder Albert Almora Jr., who is from Hialeah, Florida, said his parents opted to stay and ride it out even though he tried to get them to leave.
"I did," he said. "We have a lot of animals. We love animals. They're part of the family. You can only go so far with them. We did everything that we needed to do well to stay safe."
Manager Joe Maddon, who resides in Tampa in the off-season, said his family members are on the way out.
"My brother's already out of St. Augustine, And Jaye (Maddon's wife) is leaving tonight," he said. "The concern always is gasoline. How far could a vehicle go? I've been in touch with her all day. They were going to leave early this evening. Traveling with two dogs and a cat makes it a little bit more difficult, also."
Working their way back:
Catcher Willson Contreras was the DH Friday night for Class A Myrtle Beach, which played Down East for the right to be named co-champions of the Carolina League. Down East won the game 2-1. The rest of the playoffs have been canceled because of the hurricane.
Contreras went 1-for-2 with 2 walks. He has been on the 10-day disabled list Aug. 11 with a strained right hamstring. The Cubs have been looking at a 4-6-week timetable for Contreras to return. He was scheduled to fly back to Chicago after the game and rejoin the Cubs, but no time has been set for him to come off the DL.
Shortstop Addison Russell worked out at Wrigley Field Friday afternoon. He has been on the DL since Aug. 3 with a right-foot strain and plantar fasciitis.
The Cubs say Russell has been jogging and is pain free. He likely has two more weeks to go on the DL.
"You just do simulated games," said Joe Maddon. "You get him out there. Just do the best you can. You just try to be creative with him. Watch him. Ask him questions. 'How you feeling?' That kind of stuff.
"It's difficult. But then again, we did it with (Kyle) Schwarber last year although I guess he did participate a little out west. You just have to be imaginative and get it done somehow, but the big thing is his health. You just watch him."
Running up the totals:
The Cubs entered Friday having averaged 6.1 runs per game since Aug. 1, nearly 1.5 runs better than the team's 4.7 runs per game in the first fourth months of the season. Seven double-digit games, including a pair of 17-run outbursts, helped that average. The Cubs' plus-88 run differential in the "second half" led the National League and was second to Cleveland's plus-125.