Cubs reinstate last two players on COVID-19 related IL originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
After almost a week of putting players on the COVID-19 related injured list and gradually reinstating them, the Cubs activated relievers Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman on Saturday. The move emptied the team’s COVID-19 IL.
In a corresponding move, the Cubs optioned left-hander Justin Steele to the South Bend alternate training site, and right-hander Pedro Strop returned to the alternate site.
“I was impressed with both those guys as they came up here,” Cubs manager David Ross said, “and they've stayed sharp since spring training.”
Strop made two scoreless one-inning appearances this week. He logged three strikeouts in all and gave up a hit and walk in each game.
“Stropy continues to be a guy I trust,” said Ross, who was suspended Friday and watched Strop’s last outing from afar. “Probably not the sharpest he was yesterday, watching on TV, different perspective. A couple of his sliders were backing up. I think that last one he threw was more of an indication of the slider that I feel like he has.
"But somebody I trust, somebody who handles the moment. Even when he doesn’t have his good stuff, he's a guy that can get outs.”
Steele made his major-league debut on Monday. He appeared in three games and threw 3 1/3 shutout innings, allowing two hits and hitting two batters. Ross said Steele has made “huge strides” since the manager first saw the rookie pitch.
“He’s going to continue to get his poise out there in the (big) moments,” Ross continued. “We've thrown him into the fire here right away. … Some real intense moments he's had to come into and get his feet under him right away as a big leaguer. And he did a pretty good job with that.”
In all, the Cubs placed four players on the COVID-19 related IL this week, but Ross confirmed Friday that still no major-league player had tested positive for the virus. Reliever Jason Adam returned Wednesday, and the Cubs reinstated infielder Matt Duffy on Friday.