The Chicago Cubs are concerned about a possible COVID-19 outbreak after two coaches tested positive for the virus and three relievers were placed on the COVID-19-related injured list.
The team announced the positive test for bullpen coach Chris Young before its series opener at Milwaukee. First base coach Craig Driver already was away from the team following his positive test.
Relievers Brandon Workman, Jason Adam and Dan Winkler were placed on the COVID-19-related injured list on Monday. There was no word on whether their designation was the result of a positive test or contact tracing.
Left-handers Justin Steele and Brad Wieck were recalled from the team's alternate site in South Bend, Indiana. Veteran reliever Pedro Strop was selected as a replacement player from the alternate site.
Manager David Ross said the team is being “extra cautious” right now.
“I think that once you get a positive and what we got with Craig, it’s just on your radar for a while,” he said. “There’s always that underlying ‘How big is this?’ There’s concern, for sure.”
Adbert Alzolay, who pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball in Monday night's 6-3 loss to the Brewers, said the team is focused on preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“I saw more guys in the dugout today wearing the face masks,” Alzolay said. "Even to the practice, I saw guys wearing the face masks all the time. I feel that as a group we’re doing a really good job of keeping the distance between each other and following those protocols after this COVID-19 alert we’ve been having for the last three, four days.”
Chicago outfielder Ian Happ said he's unsure if the COVID-19 cases would lead more players on the team to get vaccinated.
“Everybody is entitled to what they believe,” Happ said "It’s important that we continue having conversations. It’s something that we’ve done a good job of in the clubhouse. I can’t speak to what anybody else is thinking or their opinion.”
Ross said the organization is hoping for the best and planning for the worst. The Cubs avoided any COVID-19 scares last season on their way to the NL Central title.
“We didn’t deal with this last year and feel very fortunate in that way,” Ross said. “You’re worried about the health and well-being of others and I think it hits home every time my phone rings and it's one of the docs or trainers. Your heart stings. And we’re trying to win ballgames, too.”