Bryant calls out MLB for not delivering on prescribed testing
Kris Bryant said he hasn't seriously considered sitting out the shortened baseball season.
But he also called out Major League Baseball for not delivering what it promised as far as COVID-19 testing.
"I guess first I don't want to come across as insensitive to the people who haven't been able to get tests," Bryant said Monday on a Zoom call with reporters. "As the country gets access to more of those, I think it's appropriate to talk about our situation here and what we agreed to was testing every other day.
"And we have guys here that showed up on Sunday (June 28) and hadn't gotten tested again seven days later, and then you don't get the results for two days either. So that's nine days without knowing.
"I think if we really want this to succeed, we're going to have to figure that out. I wanted to play this year because I thought it would be safe and I would feel comfortable. But honestly, I don't really feel that way, which is why I'm trying to keep my distance from everybody and wear my mask, just so we can get this thing going."
Three teams -- Washington, Houston and St. Louis -- canceled workouts Monday because of the delay in getting test results. Manager David Ross said the Cubs never considered canceling Monday's workout at Wrigley Field.
"My players are asking to be tested more," Ross said. "I think a red flag goes off in my head, like, 'You know, they're right.'"
Major League Baseball released a statement on the issue that mentioned there were some delays due to the holiday weekend, but 95 percent of individuals who completed initial testing are ready to move forward and begin testing every other day. Tests are being sent to a laboratory in Utah.
Bryant, who has a three-month old son at home, said he was first tested on Tuesday, June 30, then again on Sunday, a span of five days. Albert Almora told reporters he was on the same schedule, tested Tuesday and Sunday.
"This is the easy part, really," Bryant said. "When you get into the season and you're traveling and you're in an airplane and your hotel, you're getting room service -- who knows what people are doing? Especially on the other teams, too.
"You've got to rely on everybody in this whole thing. I think if we can't really nail the easy part, which is right now, just our players, we've got a big hill to climb."
The Cubs have not had any positive tests for COVID-19 among players. But the disease already has hit close to home with pitching coach Tommy Hottovy enduring a monthlong recovery form the coronavirus during the hiatus. He has since passed the protocols to return to work.
"I know there's going to be hiccups, but you can't hiccup with this," Bryant said. "Because it could just be one day where it ruins everything, so we've really got to be on top of this thing and hopefully we figure it out."
Bryant also talked about his future with the Cubs, and how his perspective has been shaped by both the pandemic and becoming a father in April.
There has been a lot of speculation about whether the Cubs will trade Bryant before he becomes a free agent after the 2021 season, or maybe sign him to a contract extension. Trades seem less likely during the abbreviated 60-game season, but no one really knows for sure.
"I would like it not to be a concern. I would like to think that I wouldn't be shipped out in the middle of a pandemic," Bryant said. "I'm trying to make it clear that I love it here and I love playing here and I love everything about the city and the people and the people in this clubhouse. I've never not wanted to be here.
"It would be really cool to just have everybody stay here and play together and see what we've got and when we're old and fat and tired, we're out of here. That'd be awesome. Who knows? It might not happen that way, but we're just really trying to enjoy the time, enjoy the craziness of the situation that we're in."
The Cubs did not hold an intrasquad scrimmage Monday, as they had the previous two days. Those will resume Tuesday.
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