Ross pleased with mental approach
With positive COVID-19 tests affecting players on numerous MLB teams, so far the Chicago Cubs have avoided one.
First-year manager David Ross said his players have been doing their part to make that happen.
"When you get the players to start buying into what we need to do to win, especially in this environment that we are dealing with this year, is extremely powerful," Ross said. "They continue to talk about the do's and don'ts."
Ross said it isn't easy. It's certainly not baseball practice or training for an upcoming season like any have experienced.
"What the players are having to do is extremely hard," Ross said. "It's mentally tasking. You always are worried about being too close to somebody. You always are worried about your mask. It's hot out there to wear a mask. And then you get test day coming up and that little bit of the unknown, little bit of anxiety, have I done everything right? It's real."
Thursday marked another test day for the Cubs. Ross said it's a process the team likes to keep in-house and not update daily unless there's a positive result.
And so far so good there.
"It's been real rewarding from this seat," Ross said. "Somebody tests positive it doesn't mean they were irresponsible or not accountable. These guys have done a good job of being prepared and done a good job of staying in the so-called bubble we are trying to create among our group and know we are coming to a safe zone here."
The players are getting the message.
"Everybody needs to be professional about this," Javy Baez said. "They need to take it serious. At the end of the day it could be really dangerous for your family too. Need to be professional about it and keep the six feet away from people."
On the mend
David Ross said Anthony Rizzo, sidelined from practice because of back soreness, is still day to day but moving in the right direction.
Pitcher Jose Quintana, out after surgery on his left thumb, is working out at Wrigley Field. Quintana will miss the start of the season, but Ross said he's been doing leg and shoulder work so that he's ready to return when his hand heals.
There were numerous reports Thursday that the Cubs have released right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow. Before summer camp opened, Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters the team didn't see "a realistic scenario where Morrow would contribute this year."
MLB released the 2021 schedule Thursday. The Cubs will open at home April 1 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and play the AL Central for a second straight season.
"The less travel the better on the players for sure," manager David Ross said.