Bryant feeling better, but return on hold
Kris Bryant was feeling better Sunday, according to Cubs manager David Ross, but it's not clear when he'll rejoin the lineup.
Bryant was a late scratch on Saturday due to stomach issues. And with growing concern over COVID-19 spreading through some teams, the league office will determine when its safe for Bryant to play. David Bote played third base Sunday for the second straight day.
"A lot of different illnesses can have the same symptoms as COVID, so I think Major League Baseball and everybody are just going through the proper channels to make sure everybody's safe," Ross said before Sunday's game. "Kris is feeling good. Talked to him at length this morning.
"He already took a (coronavirus) test this morning, it came back negative. His test from two days ago came back late (Saturday) night as negative. He'll take another one tomorrow morning. It's kind of out of our hands right now."
The Cubs have experience with players feeling ill. When Cincinnati's Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel were feeling under the weather last week, they each missed a total of three games before returning to face the Cubs. Neither player tested positive for COVID-19.
No Cubs player has tested positive since summer training began on July 3.
Cubs add Steele:
Before Sunday's game, the Cubs brought up left-handed pitcher Justin Steele from the South Bend satellite camp and placed reliever James Norwood on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.
Steele made his debut on a major league roster. The Lucedale, Mississippi, native was a starter in Double A Tennessee last year, going 0-6 with a 5.59 ERA.
"He made an impression on me during spring training, just with the (weak) swings that hitters took off him," Cubs manager David Ross said. "When he's in the zone, the ball seems to jump out of his hand, hitters don't seem to pick it up too much. He's been working on some slider mechanics in South Bend and that seems to be playing well.
"His name kept popping up as a guy that's trending in the right direction. He's competing his tail off in that environment. We try to reward guys for that around here."
Hoyer sees hope:
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer offered his take on struggling closer Craig Kimbrel during a Zoom call with media on Saturday. Kimbrel has a 27.00 ERA after his first two outings of the season.
"The thing I'm glad about is it's not as if we can't find the mechanical flaws," Hoyer said. "We know the things he needs to work on to get there and we'll start working on those. It's nice to be able to diagnose the problem. I think we've done that.
"Now it's a matter of just kind of fixing those things. That's not easy. It's hard to fix mechanical challenges, but certainly we've diagnosed them and it's a matter of making those fixes."
Bad news continues:
Baseball's battle with the coronavirus continued to trend in the wrong direction Sunday with reports of more positive tests by the St. Louis Cardinals. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer talked about dealing with the bouts of bad news this season.
"For the Cubs, I want the season to keep going because I love the way we're playing, the way we're acting," Hoyer said. "And for baseball, because I think it's incredibly important as an industry that we play a season. For all those reasons, whenever I see news that's negative or threatening, it's something that does not sit well at all."