The Chicago Cubs are the latest MLB team potentially facing worrisome COVID-19 issues.
As ESPN’s Jesse Rogers explained, Cubs first base coach Craig Driver tested positive for the coronavirus last week, and bullpen coach Chris Young receiving a positive test on Monday forced relief pitchers Jason Adam, Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman onto the COVID-19-related injured list.
On Tuesday, infielder Matt Duffy also went on the list. It’s currently unknown if he tested positive for COVID-19 or was deemed a high-risk close contact.
“The guys have been pretty diligent about wearing their mask,” Cubs manager David Ross said, per Jordan Bastian of the official MLB website. “We’re hoping for the best, but we’re also planning for the worst. I think that’s just the way you have to kind of have that mindset in this time we’re in right now.”
The Cubs lost at the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, and the two clubs remain scheduled to resume the series Tuesday evening. In early April, the season-opening series between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals was postponed after a handful of Washington players became unavailable due to COVID-19 concerns.
Ildemaro Vargas was selected from Chicago’s South Bend alternate site to replace Duffy on the active roster.
MLB has informed clubs that coronavirus-related health and safety protocols can be relaxed if 85% of a team’s Tier 1 traveling party becomes fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Ross added he hopes this experience encourages everyone associated with the Cubs to get their shots.
“We’re hopeful that guys can see the value in being vaccinated, and trying to get toward that threshold number. But again, each guy makes their choices,” Ross said. “It’s readily available.”