Cubs News

Notebook: Cubs show support for Contreras, Hendricks update and roster moves

3 years agoTony Andracki

With a day game after a night game, Willson Contreras wasn’t in the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale against the Brewers.

Which means the Contreras vs. Milwaukee rivalry will have to wait…a whole week until the Cubs play the Brewers again at Wrigley Field beginning April 23.

After being plunked again earlier in Tuesday’s game, Contreras got the last laugh with a monster 2-run, go-ahead homer.

It was the 7th time he had been hit by a Brewers pitcher over the last two seasons but instead of showing his frustration in a shouting match, he sent a message with his bat.

“That’s not just a Milwaukee Brewers thing — a lot of teams try to pound him in,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said. “Obviously the Brewers have hit him a lot and there’s understandable frustration. That’s part of the game. I thought the best part of it is that he got his revenge in the right way. That’s what you should do.

“He got a pitch up out over the plate and he hit a huge home run and it was good emotion. We play these teams 18 times a year, six series a year and there’s gonna be times in hotly-contested games that there’s gonna be emotions. It’s a good thing.

“Getting hit by pitches isn’t a good thing, but these things happen in baseball. They happen in sports. When you play teams a lot and you become really familiar with each other, these things happen. I was proud of Willson for exacting revenge in the right way.”

David Ross loves watching the edge and emotion Contreras brings to the ballpark on a daily basis.

“The way Willson plays for us and for me, I’ve got this guy’s back as much as anybody,” Ross said. “I support it. I thought he’s kept things under control really well this year and his emotions in check in a very professional way and gone out and spoke volumes with his defense and his bat.

“I’m super supportive of my guys when it comes to that. I love the fact that he was able to have a little payback last night. We needed that as a group and I think he needed to get some of that out.”

Hendricks update

Kyle Hendricks was scratched from Tuesday’s start after he reported feeling under the weather. The Cubs placed four players on the COVID-19 related injured list earlier in the week and have had two coaches test positive.

Hendricks stayed in Milwaukee Tuesday night and drove back home to Chicago Wednesday. The latest round of tests have come back negative for him and he reported feeling better Wednesday.

The Cubs don’t yet have plan for when Hendricks will pitch next but that could come this weekend against the Braves at Wrigley Field.

“In a typical, non-COVID situation, he would’ve gutted it out,” Hoyer said. “I think he said he had pitched like this dozens of times in his life, as every athlete does. You’re not always at 100% and guys know that. But obviously given what’s going on with [Craig] Driver and Chris Young, that wasn’t gonna be the decision.

“We haven’t made a decision yet on exactly when he’s going to pitch. It will depend on his testing and it will depend on how he feels. Hopefully the tests come back negative and if that’s the case, I’m sure he’ll feel better pretty quickly.”


With the recent COVID situation affecting the team, vaccinations have become a daily topic with the Cubs.

Behind the scenes, it’s a regular conversation for Hoyer, Ross and the Cubs medical staff with players as the team attempts to climb toward the 85% vaccination threshold set forth as a goal by Major League Baseball.

“We are encouraging players to get it,” Hoyer said. “We’ll continue to do that. Obviously we wanted to get to 85% because there’s some advantages as a team to get there, but ultimately, 85% is an arbitrary number. I just want these guys vaccinated because it’s the right thing to do and it avoids these situations.

“That said, some of the people that are involved in this are vaccinated and I think it’s important to note that. This is not because guys aren’t vaccinated. People that are vaccinated at various stages of vaccination can still get it.

“But yeah, we’re encouraging guys, we’ll provide them with the research and we believe it’s the right thing to do. We’ll continue to try to convince guys not just because of the 85% number but because we feel like it’s the right thing to have all these guys vaccinated.”

Roster shake-up

The Cubs made a flurry of roster moves just ahead of Wednesday’s game.

Catcher Austin Romine was activated off the injured list and inserted into the starting lineup. He has been slowed by a knee injury since early March but had been working out at the team’s alternate site in South Bend.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs designated catcher Tony Wolters for assignment. Wolters played 3 games for the Cubs and drew a walk in 5 plate appearances.

The Cubs also activated Jason Adam off the COVID list and selected right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller from South Bend. Adbert Alzolay and Brad Wieck were optioned to the alternate site.

Adam was one of three relievers who were placed on the COVID list Monday as it was announced Young — the Cubs bullpen coach — had tested positive for the virus.

Miller was one of the team’s most impressive pitchers in spring training and will get his shot in the big leagues now. The Cubs are open to utilizing the 30-year-old pitcher in a variety of roles, including long relief, spot starts and 1-inning bursts. He appeared in Wednesday’s game and had a tough outing, allowing 4 runs without recording an out.

The Cubs have off-days Thursday and Monday, so they don’t necessarily need a fifth starter until late next week and they will closely monitor Alzolay’s innings and workload all season. Alzolay will take the ball on his scheduled turn Sunday in South Bend to stay stretched out.

“Too many off days for any pitcher is gonna lead to them not being sharp and [he’s] somebody that we are trying to monitor some innings,” Ross said. “Because he had pitched the night before, he was the guy that made the most sense to option him out and let him make his start and then bring him back on the back end of [the homestand].”

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