Cubs

Cubs send David Ross to the disabled list with concussion

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Cubs send David Ross to the disabled list with concussion

Jon Lester will have to get by without his personal catcher for at least one start.

The Cubs put veteran backstop David Ross on the 7-day disabled list Saturday with a mild concussion. Ross caught a couple foul balls off the facemask Wednesday night in New York and alerted the team of his symptoms.

"I was a little off a couple days ago. I'm probably always a little off. It's hard to tell what's norm for me," he joked. "I had a three-day headache that was going on and some nausea and some small symptoms that were going on the day after I got hit with a couple foul balls."

[MORE: Maddon calls on Winston Churchill as Cubs offense searches for consistency]

Ross and the Cubs said the DL stint is a precautionary move because the 38-year-old catcher hasn't been 100 percent. The team called up Taylor Teagarden from Triple-A Iowa to serve as the second catcher while Ross is out.

This isn't the first time Ross has been sidelined with a concussion. He suffered one about 10 years ago when he was bowled over at the plate and hit his head on the ground. 

Then he was on the shelf for two months with the Red Sox in 2013 when he had a concussion, came back too quickly and got hit with another foul ball. 

"It's nice for the 7-day DL where you can just take a step back," Ross said. "I think the main concern is just getting another foul ball. ... [When that happened two years ago,] they ended up sending me home to Florida for two months. I definitely don't want to ever go through that.

"So now, going through that, I recognize the symptoms — the irritability, the headaches, the fatigues, unsettled stomach, some things that I've been feeling a little bit of."

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Ross said he's been feeling OK lately and did "pretty well" on his concussion tests, but he and the Cubs are just playing it safe right now.

"We have to be really careful," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's feeling pretty good today and hopefully [his stay on the DL] is not elongated. Definitely a one-day-at-a-time situation. When his time's up, we'll evaluate it."

Teagarden, 31, has played 172 games at the big-league level, hitting .202/.262/.382 with 21 homers and 68 RBI in 548 plate appearances. Baseball America named him a Top 100 prospect before the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

In Iowa, Teagarden was hitting .294 with an .812 OPS.

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

When Kyle Schwarber met new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis: 'I don't suck'

MESA, Ariz. — The first thing Kyle Schwarber told his new hitting coach?

"His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.'"

The Cubs hired Chili Davis as the team's new hitting coach for myriad reasons. He's got a great track record from years working with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics, and that .274/.360/.451 slash line during an illustrious 19-year big league career certainly helps.

But Davis' main immediate task in his new gig will be to help several of the Cubs' key hitters prove Schwarber's assessment correct.

Schwarber had a much-publicized tough go of things in 2017. After he set the world on fire with his rookie campaign in 2015 and returned from what was supposed to be a season-ending knee injury in time to be one of the Cubs' World Series heroes in 2016, he hit just .211 last season, getting sent down to Triple-A Iowa for a stint in the middle of the season. Schwarber still hit 30 home runs, but his 2017 campaign was seen as a failure by a lot of people.

Enter Davis, who now counts Schwarber as one of his most important pupils.

"He's a worker," Davis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Schwarbs, he knows he's a good player. His first statement to me is, 'I don't suck.' He said last year was just a fluke year. He said, 'I've never failed in my life.' And he said, 'I'm going to get back to the player that I was.'

"I think he may have — and this is my thought, he didn't say this to me — I think it may have been, he had a big World Series, hit some homers, and I think he tried to focus on being more of a home run type guy as opposed to being a good hitter.

"His focus has changed. I had nothing to do with that, he came in here with that focus that he wants to be a good hitter first and let whatever happens happen. And he's worked on that. The main thing with Kyle is going to be is just maintaining focus."

The physically transformed Schwarber mentioned last week that he's established a good relationship with Davis, in no small part because Schwarber can relate to what Davis went through when he was a player. And to hear Davis tell it, it sounds like he's describing Schwarber's first three years as a big leaguer to a T.

"Telling him my story was important because it was similar," Davis said. "I was a catcher, got to big league camp, and I was thrown in the outfield. And I hated the outfield. ... But I took on the challenge. I made the adjustment, I had a nice first year, then my second year I started spiraling. I started spiraling down, and I remember one of my coaches saying, 'I'm going to have to throw you a parachute just so you can land softly.' I got sent down to Triple-A at the All-Star break for 15 days.

"When I got sent down, I was disappointed, but I was also really happy. I needed to get away from the big league pressure and kind of find myself again. I went home and refocused myself and thought to myself, 'I'm going to come back as Chili.' Because I tried to change, something changed about me the second year.

"And when I did that, I came back the next year and someone tried to change me and I said, 'Pump the breaks a little bit, let me fail my way, and then I'll come to you if I'm failing.' And they understood that, and I had a nice year, a big year and my career took off.

"I'm telling him, 'Hey, let last year go. It happened, it's in the past. Keep working hard, maintain your focus, and you'll be fine.'"

Getting Schwarber right isn't Davis' only task, of course. Despite the Cubs being one of the highest-scoring teams in baseball last season, they had plenty of guys go through subpar seasons. Jason Heyward still has yet to find his offensive game since coming to Chicago as a high-priced free agent. Ben Zobrist was bothered by a wrist injury last season and put up the worst numbers of his career. Addison Russell had trouble staying healthy, as well, and saw his numbers dip from what they were during the World Series season in 2016.

So Davis has plenty of charges to work with. But he likes what he's seen so far.

"They work," Davis said. "They come here to work. I had a group of guys in Boston that were the same last year, and it makes my job easier. They want to get better, they come out every day, they show up, they want to work. They're excited, and I'm excited to be around them.

And what have the Cubs found out about Davis? Just about everyone answers that question the same way: He likes to talk.

"I'm not going to stop talking," he said. "If I stop talking, something's wrong."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Andre Dawson talks about his Cubs reunion

Carmen DeFalco (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Bernfield join Kap on the panel. Anthony Rizzo returns to the Cubs after an emotional weekend home while Tom Ricketts expects another World Series parade. Plus Hall of Famer Andre Dawson joins Kap to talk about his Cubs reunion and how the current crop unsigned free agents compares to his experiences with collusion.