The Cubs have had key pieces return in the last month, but they still can’t escape the injury bug.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo was out of the lineup in the Cubs' 14-4 loss Monday at Milwaukee, after leaving the Cubs’ loss to the Dodgers the night before with lower back tightness. Ross provided a less than encouraging update after Monday's loss.
“He's pretty sore," Ross said when asked how Rizzo came out of his pregame treatment.
Rizzo also missed time for back issues in late May, sidelined for six games.
Ross was “earmarking” Monday as an off day for catcher Willson Contreras. He planned to rest Contreras on either the opening day of the series, or the series finale Wednesday ahead of the Cubs’ Thursday off day.
“The hand push it over the edge for me,” Ross said, referring to Contreras getting hit in the hand with a fastball Friday, “and watching the last two games, and he was grinding for sure with the last game and then the flight.”
With Rizzo and Contreras out of the lineup, Kris Bryant is starting at first base and Jose Lobaton behind the plate.
“I thought it'd be more on the pitching side, to be honest with you,” Ross said when asked about the league-wide injury spike coming off a shortened 2020 season. “I didn't see this much with position players.”
Cubs option Tommy Nance, recall Trevor Megill
The Cubs shuffled their bullpen depth Monday, optioning Tommy Nance to Triple-A and recalling Trevor Megill.
Nance (1-0, 3.20 ERA) had struggled in the past week, giving up multiple runs in two of his last four outings. But against the Dodgers on Sunday, Nance allowed one run in three innings, saving the bullpen from what could have been a taxing game.
“He really put himself on the map when he first showed up and how he performed,” Ross said. “You get around, (other teams) are able to watch a little bit of video, they see your strengths and weaknesses, maybe had to make a few adjustments.
“But then I thought yesterday was a huge positive. I thought he looked great. I thought he was nasty. … I told him, our front office told him, and (pitching coach) Tommy (Hottovy) told him, talking to him today when we optioned him down was nothing but positives.”
Megill is in his third stint with the Cubs. Entering play Monday, he had yet to give up a run in four big-league appearances.