As COVID affects clubhouse, Cubs maintain cautious approach
A few hours before Tuesday’s contest in Milwaukee, the Cubs placed another player on the COVID-19 list (infielder Matt Duffy).
Then, just before first pitch, Kyle Hendricks was scratched as the team reported he is not feeling well and Alec Mills will get the ball in his place.
Duffy is the fourth player on the COVID list — joining relievers Jason Adam, Brandon Workman and Dan Winkler — and the move to scratch Hendricks late illustrates the Cubs’ desire to take every precaution possible right now to keep the clubhouse as safe as possible.
Ildemaro Vargas was selected as a replacement player off the Cubs’ taxi squad to come off the bench in Duffy’s place. The team confirmed no player has tested positive for COVID-19 at the moment.
“If you have a headache, if you have a runny nose, if you have body aches, if you have just about anything going on that would or could be one of the 10 COVID symptoms, we’re going to err on the side of caution,” David Ross said. “There has been a big change of climate here. This goes in general for the guys that are on that list — this is not any specific person. There’s been some guys just dealing with some symptoms that we want to be cautious about.”
It was announced Monday that bullpen coach Chris Young tested positive for the coronavirus, a few days after first base coach Craig Driver tested positive.
The Cubs feel confident in their protocols as contact tracing and masks have helped keep the players safe to this point. Both Driver and Young have reported feeling fine as they navigate the virus.
They both gave Ross consent to share their medical information. Driver got his first vaccine shot as soon as he could and is still in the process of waiting the allotted time until his second dose. Young received both shots and the Cubs believe he contracted the virus just before he was deemed fully vaccinated two weeks after his second dose.
“I’ve talked to CY and Craig at length and they don’t want to scare anybody,” Ross said. “They think the fact that they’ve had the shot is actually a positive and would recommend everybody to get the shot. CY feels completely fine.
“I think they think the reason why they feel as good as they do is because they’ve had some version of the shot. I wanted to get that information out there for them and on behalf of [the team]. We are taking this seriously and we’re trying to get everybody as vaccinated as we possibly can.”
The Cubs are not yet fully vaccinated as a club and have not reached the desired 85% threshold for Tier 1 individuals. The team has continued to try to educate each player with information regarding the vaccine and left the ultimate decision up to the individual and their family.