As challenging as last baseball season was with various health and safety protocols due to COVID-19, the protocols are even more extensive this spring while involving far more players and staff.
“It’s crazy,” Cubs manager David Ross said Saturday. “There's more protocols this year than there were last year, just as far as the steps that our doctors and our training staff have to take.”
Team officials have acknowledged the protocols are a work in progress. In his first spring training press conference, Cubs president Jed Hoyer mentioned how there would be delays at the start of camp due to protocols.
For example, those who had COVID-19 in the past and recovered could have to go through “pretty extensive” cardiology tests, Hoyer said. Labs have also received a flood of COVID-19 tests with camp underway.
“We have to take every step possible to make sure these guys are healthy and in a good place when we step foot on the field,” Ross said.
The expanded and more challenging protocols have delayed several Cubs in the early part of spring training, including reliever Kyle Ryan, whom the team placed on the COVID-19 list earlier this week.
Hoyer said he didn’t expect the Cubs to be working out the club’s full complement of pitchers right away, adding he’d expect the same to be true when position players report. The Cubs’ first full-squad workout is Monday.
Protocols alone aren’t the sole reason for some Cubs being delayed from participating in camp. Run production coordinator Jim Adduci lives in Texas, which is dealing with a weather emergency.
Adduci joked in a text message to Ross he would carry everyone’s bags on the Cubs’ first road trip as a punishment for being late to camp.
“Some guys weather, some guys health, some guys testing, all those things that come into play, with the coaching staff included,” Ross said. “Some crazy things are going on in our world.”