Cubs

Kris Bryant after Mike Moustakas reported COVID-19 symptoms: 'I thanked him'

Kris Bryant after Mike Moustakas reported COVID-19 symptoms: 'I thanked him'

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant had a simple message for Mike Moustakas on Wednesday, when the Reds infielder returned to the lineup for the first time since Saturday.

"I told Moustakas out there, I know he was caught up in the protocol, and I thanked him, because that’s how we’re going to finish the season," Bryant told reporters after Cincinnati's 12-7 win on Wednesday.

Bryant is obviously speaking of MLB's COVID-19 protocol, which caused the Reds a few problems the last few days.

Moustakas and Reds center fielder Nick Senzel woke up feeling unwell on Sunday. Cincinnati placed the former on the injured list, not divulging whether Moustakas tested positive for COVID-19. Senzel was not placed on the IL but was scratched from the lineup.

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Both players tested negative for the coronavirus, according to reports, but were still absent from the lineup for three games. Per MLB's Operations Manual, players who self-report symptoms can't return until testing negative in the league's expedited diagnostic and confirmatory tests, they stop showing symptoms and the team's physician allows them to return. 

Moustakas and Senzel appealed to the league and won, allowing them to return Wednesday.

RELATED: Reds' COVID-19 protocol appeal: David Ross isn't worried about effect on Cubs

Bryant is thankful Moustakas followed protocol and didn't try to play on Sunday. Moustakas' situation came amid more than a dozen Marlins testing positive for the coronavirus, putting Miami's season on hold through Sunday.

"It’s strange. Again, like we haven’t been in this situation ever before as baseball players," Bryant said. "You say you have the sniffles and you’re just looked down upon; you’re judged and stuff like that.

"If you wake up and you don’t feel great or whatever — anything — you have to check that box of the survey that we fill out every morning and you go from there. I respect everybody who says that they have something, I completely respect them, because they’re going to be the ones who help us finish the season."

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Cubs Talk Podcast: How can the Cubs fix their closing problem?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: How can the Cubs fix their closing problem?

The Cubs are 10-2 but they still have a glaring issue that needs to be addressed in order to make a significant run to the playoffs: the closer.

David Kaplan is joined by NBCS Chicago Cubs insider Gordon Wittenmyer as they discuss ways and options the Cubs can address their closing situation. Later on, they discuss if Theo Epstein took a shot at Joe Maddon and how the Cubs are leading the charge in baseball for safety protocols.

(1:20) - Should José Quintana be the closer?

(7:05) - Are the Cubs as good as their record?

(13:00) - Debate on the three-batter rule for pitching changes

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(17:00) - Cubs are among one of the safest teams in the MLB

(22:00) - Did Theo Epstein take a shot at Joe Maddon?

Listen here or below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Why Cubs’ Alec Mills became first pitcher to hit since MLB added universal DH

Why Cubs’ Alec Mills became first pitcher to hit since MLB added universal DH

Thursday’s Cubs-Royals game was one-sided, with Kansas City taking an early lead and never looking back in a 13-2 victory. Despite the loss, the Cubs made some history in the ninth inning.

Cubs pitcher Alec Mills became the first hurler to have a plate appearance since Major League Baseball implemented a universal DH. 

“I told him to look intimidating and I think he did,” Cubs manager David Ross said with a smile after the game.

The Cubs forfeited the DH in their lineup in the seventh inning, when they moved Victor Caratini (Thursday’s starting DH) to first base and Ian Happ from first to right field among several innings worth of moves that emptied their bench.

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With the DH gone, reliever Dan Winkler entered the lineup in the seventh in place of Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward, a move Ross said postgame was to get Heyward off his feet. When that spot came up in the ninth, Ross sent Mills to the plate. He struck out looking, as Ross asked him not to swing.

“Alec was fine with going up there. I asked him not to swing,” Ross said. “Every part of my being knows that’s probably the wrong thing to do, is take the competitiveness out of a player. He’s been pitching so well for us; I don’t want anything dumb to happen in that type of game.”

Reds two-way player Michael Lorenzen is the only pitcher credited with entering a game on offense this season. He pinch ran on July 26.

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