Carrying three catchers comes in handy again for Cubs


Carrying three catchers comes in handy again for Cubs

This is the benefit of having three catchers on the roster.

In the eighth inning of Thursday's game against the Mets, David Ross stepped out of the batter's box during his at-bat, grabbing at his side. He eventually bunted - with two strikes - and came out of the game.

Miguel Montero had pinch-hit earlier in the eighth inning and replaced Ross in the game (after Ross had come in to replace starting catcher Welington Castillo in the fifth inning).

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At first, it looked as if Ross had suffered a dreaded oblique injury, which have been known to shut down hitters for more than a month.

The Cubs initially called it "abdominal tightness" but Ross said Friday morning he felt fine and didn't expect a stint on the disabled list.

"I don't know exactly what it was. Maybe it released some scar tissue or something. I'm 38, there's no telling what this body's been through," he joked.

"It was just a little tweak and [Cubs manager Joe Maddon] wanted me to bunt, just to make sure I didn't do anything crazy. And then with Miggy having pinch-hit and us out of catchers, Miggy had to go in and catch.

"It was just precautionary and hopefully everything is good. I feel fine this morning."

Ross was insistent it was not an oblique injury, saying the feeling was different.

"It felt a little funny, but I took a couple practice swings and it didn't grab," Ross said. "I pulled an oblique once before in Double-A and know what that feels like. It didn't feel like that.

"It just felt like a little sharp twinge and tightened up just a little bit and then kinda released. I came in, saw the trainer and he felt where it was tight and released it. I think I'm OK."

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As for the bunt with two strikes (which rolled foul for a strikeout), Ross laughed it off, saying Maddon was "pretty adament" about the veteran catcher not swinging and risking further injury.

"Whenever that happens, you always think badly immediately," Maddon said. "So I went out there and he didn't think it was that bad when I talked to him. I said, 'You know, regardless, why don't you put down a bunt for a base hit here?' He's actually good at it, even though there were two strikes.

"I did not want him to swing and then unnecessarily do something bad. We made the adjustment because again, there are so many little things moving right there. Montero had just hit. If that had happened back in the dugout and he said soemthing after you had already taken Montero out of the game, [that would have been bad]. That's the beauty of having three catchers."

With the Pirates starting left-hander Jeff Locke on the mound Friday, the right-handed-hitting Castillo got another start behind the dish.

The hope is Ross will be set to regain his usual role as Jon Lester's personal catcher Saturday against Pittsburgh.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

In his first year with the Cubs, Ross is hitting only .192, but he has worked seven walks and clubbed four doubles to boast a .364 on-base percentage and .346 slugging. He's also served as a strong veteran voice in a young clubhouse.

The three-catcher experiment has worked for Maddon and the team so far this season. Cubs catchers have combined for an .853 OPS, tops in the National League and third in baseball.

Twitter user shaming Astros post-cheating scandal is a Cubs fan


Twitter user shaming Astros post-cheating scandal is a Cubs fan

Twitter user @AsterikTour has gained notoriety recently for constantly barraging the Houston Astros in the aftermath of their cheating scandal. The account (appropriately named “2020 Astros Shame Tour”) has amassed 118,000 followers and pulls no punches with its intentions. From the account’s bio:

One year to shame them all, one year to jeer them, one year to boo them all and from your seat deride them.

Asterik Tour’s sadistic nature towards the Astros leads one to believe the account's mastermind is a Yankees or Dodgers fan. Houston stole signs in 2017, when they beat New York (ALCS) and Los Angeles (World Series) in the postseason. The account's architect is a fan of neither squad, however.

27-year-old Brendan Donley is a Cubs fan.


According to the Washington Post, Donley, who lives in Michigan, became obsessed with the fallout of Houston’s scandal. He wanted a centralized location to keep up with all things Astros and took matters into his own hands.

“If I’m obsessed, I figured maybe other people are, too,” Donley told the Washington Post

Donley posts memes relating to the scandal, videos of Astros players getting plunked in spring training games and fan-made signs jeering the club. He made it clear he doesn't wish for the players to be harmed but didn't think much of the team's apologies post-scandal.

“For some people, there’s nothing they could say that could return them to good graces," Donley said, "but for a lot of us, if you just said ‘I’m really sorry, I know I did something wrong, I’ll never do it again and we feel ashamed for what we’ve done,’ I feel like people would accept that.”

That's a fair assessment. The fact a Cubs fan is so passionate on the scandal shows the scrutiny towards Houston isn't going away anytime soon.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Ross-ter Rundown: Can Jon Lester bring it for 1 more year?


Cubs Talk Podcast: Ross-ter Rundown: Can Jon Lester bring it for 1 more year?

As the season draws closer, it's time to discuss every player that will be on the final roster on Opening Day. We start with Cubs veteran pitcher Jon Lester.

Jeff Nelson sits in for David Kaplan and is joined by NBCS Cubs writer Tim Stebbins and NBCS producer Nate Poppen to debate if Jon Lester can help stabilize the starting rotation for at least one more season, and where do you place him in the rotation.

(1:37) - One word to describe Jon Lester

(5:42) - Lester didn't start his Cubs career very well

(10:40) - Lester eventually proved why he got the contract

(14:40) - How will the relationship change between Jon Lester and David Ross

(19:00) - Lester's inability to throw to first base

(23:00) - Projections for Lester in the 2020 season

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast