The Cubs’ COVID-19 test results arrived later in the day than they’d hoped. But when general manager Jed Hoyer finally had the list of names in hand Tuesday, his eyes scanned through over 80 negatives. All players and coaches were clear.
Those encouraging results came from Sunday’s testing, making the Cubs the only team in the National League that hasn’t yet had a player test positive.
“Do I think we’ve done everything we can to safeguard thing and put restrictions in?” Hoyer said. “Of course. I don’t think we’re doing a lot of things other teams are doing as well. I think every team is working hard to do this. And there has to be a certain amount of luck in that, let’s be honest.”
The Cubs have several other factors working in their favor: a veteran group and the guidance of pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, whose harrowing battle with COVID-19 lasted 30 days.
But Hottovy’s story also suggests that luck must be involved.
“He didn’t go much of anywhere,” Bryant said. “I think he went to the field and went to get food at the grocery store, and he got it. So, that’s the scary park. We have to do everything we can to limit that exposure, but the fact is you might be doing everything right and you still might be able to get it.”
The Cubs’ internal messaging has been consistent: everyone needs to take the virus seriously for the sake of the whole club.
Hoyer hopes the Cubs can keep their players from contracting COVID-19 all season, but the team has also heard from medical experts and seen the spread across the country.
“We’re going to face our challenges with that at some point,” Hoyer said. “I think that’s inevitable.
“Do I want to get a negative sheet back every time with 80-something negatives? Of course. I don’t know if we can do that for the whole year, I don’t know if that’s realistic. But I think that has to be the goal for us. It has to be the goal for every team: do everything you can to avoid an outbreak. Be as mindful of every situation as you can. Hopefully we can continue that. But I don’t think we’re doing anything different than other teams. Everyone’s working hard at this.”
Tier 1 individuals, including Cubs players, also were tested on Tuesday, in line with the every-other-day schedule laid out in the 2020 Operations Manual. Hoyer said he believes the delay in results Tuesday was a lingering result of the testing backup over the weekend as the league transitioned from intake testing to a more regular schedule over the Fourth of July.
“I feel like now we’re in that routine,” Hoyer said. “It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, but I do think that transition was the challenge and now that we’re past that, I think things will run really well.”
Kyle Ryan remains delayed in reporting to camp for what manager David Ross called “protocol technicalities,” but the Cubs hope he will report by the end of the week.