Cubs

Their teams and roles have changed, but the Jon Lester-David Ross dynamic remains the same

Their teams and roles have changed, but the Jon Lester-David Ross dynamic remains the same

MESA, Ariz. – When asked about a friendship that’s now spanned multiple teams and job titles, both David Ross and Jon Lester gave, more or less, the same answer – but each in his own, unique way. Is it going to be weird having one of your good buddies taking you out of games? Could that present some awkward communication issues?

“I would say I’m almost too honest with him,” Ross said with a big grin. “If that can be a thing. He’s in a good place and I’m proud of him. I’m happy with where he's at. I still think he’s a special, top of the rotation pitcher.”

“I don't know if you guys know this, but he took me out of games plenty of times,” Lester added, without any grin whatsoever. “This won't be anything new. Is that weird? Yes. But he's my boss. When he decides the game is over for me, the game is over.” 

Ross’ close relationship with the team’s core is well-trodden territory, but it’s not a stretch to say that there’s an elevated dynamic between the Cubs’ new manager and the Cubs’ oldest player. The two played together, and won rings together, in both Boston and Chicago; perhaps no one within the game of baseball knows Lester better – both as a pitcher and as a leader. 

“What he’s done in the postseason, and seen in the markets he’s been in, his words and actions carry so much weight in the locker room,” Ross said. “I was there not long ago when it did, and it’s even more so now with the young guys we’ve got. He just sets a great example for those guys. The way he works, the consistency, he’s truly at work when he walks in the door.” 

This will be Lester’s 15th year in the big leagues – the exact amount of time that Ross spent playing. As always, his goal for the season is to hit 200 innings. If he can, it’d be the first time since 2016 that he'll cross that threshold. It would also vest the 2021 option in Lester’s contract, guaranteeing him $25 million next season. 

A lingering hamstring injury rendered Lester ineffective for much of last season, and after tweaking a few things in his offseason workout, he feels like he finally has requisite strength back in his lower body. 

“I’m such a legs-oriented pitcher, so I think any time you miss an extended amount of time with a leg injury, I think it just took me a while – even though I felt fine – to get my base back,” he said. “Going into the offseason, I really tried to focus on that: my hips, and my back. Making sure I was strong in those areas.” 

The dialogue certainly won’t always be this rosy with Ross, though Lester was adamant to point out that regardless of his manager -- be it Joe Maddon, Tito Francona, or John Farrell -- his professionalism within the boundaries of the game has never changed. It’ll be no different with his latest boss.  

“Same as it’s always been, except now I get called out more in meetings,” Lester said, this time with the slightest hint of a smile. 

“It’s Rossy. What you see is what you get.”

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Cubs' Jason Kipnis sets up unique fundraiser for COVID-19 relief

Cubs' Jason Kipnis sets up unique fundraiser for COVID-19 relief

With baseball suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jason Kipnis is using some of his free time to help those in need.

Kipnis announced Thursday he's set up a Cameo account and will donate portions of the proceeds to coronavirus relief and medical workers. Cameo is a video-sharing platform where people can book personal shout-outs from celebrities, athletes, influencers and more.

RELATED: Jason Kipnis airs concerns over challenges players will face when MLB returns

The Cubs second baseman added supporters can request where he donates the proceeds.

Kipnis joins Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins in using Cameo to help those affected by the coronavirus.

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Kris Bryant's goal for his son, other trivia facts about Cubs third baseman

Kris Bryant's goal for his son, other trivia facts about Cubs third baseman

Based on his current trajectory, Kris Bryant will go down as one of the best third basemen in Cubs history. In five seasons, the 28-year-old has made three All-Star teams, won Rookie of the Year by a unanimous vote and taken home National League MVP honors.

As he continues adding to his accomplishments on the field, here are a few things you should know about Bryant off of it.

1. Bryant grew up in Las Vegas and played baseball with the Phillies’ Bryce Harper and Rangers’ Joey Gallo, dating back to when he was nine years old.

2. Bryant’s dad, Mike, played professionally in the Red Sox organization. As a minor leaguer, Mike received hitting instructions from Boston legend Ted Williams.

3. In high school, Bryant was named his graduating class’ salutatorian. But he passed the honor onto a classmate with a similar GPA because he wanted her to have the recognition.

4. Bryant married his high school sweetheart, Jessica, in January 2017. They started dating as sophomores and are expecting their first child this month.

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Mr. & Mrs. Bryant!! 📸: @j.annephotography

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5. Bryant took guitar lessons this offseason and said at his introductory press conference this spring that his kid will be a rock star. He noted that Mike will probably push the kid to baseball, though.

Maybe we'll see the first simultaneous rock star baseball player?

RELATED: Top 10 moments of Kris Bryant's Cubs career

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