David Ross didn’t exactly ride off into the sunset once Cubs teammates Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward picked him up onto their shoulders and carried him off the field after last year’s World Series Game 7 in Cleveland.
Ross “retired” and spent the last year performing on “Dancing with the Stars,” writing a memoir that’s already in movie development, appearing on multiple ESPN platforms and working as a special assistant in Theo Epstein’s front office.
Meaning it won’t be easy for the Cubs to pull Ross back in after Sunday’s news that Dave Martinez will be the next Washington Nationals manager.
Two sources familiar with Grandpa Rossy’s situation and the team’s thinking framed it like this: Ross would be on the short list of ideal candidates to become Joe Maddon’s bench coach, but it’s also doubtful that the timing will be right for someone who is raising a young family in Florida and has so many off-the-field interests. After getting so little time off this year, Ross is said to be waiting until after the World Series is over before even considering anything else for next season.
One internal candidate could be Brandon Hyde, the first base coach for the last three seasons and a bench coach for Rick Renteria (2014) and with the Florida Marlins (2010-11).
Ross is only 40 years old and can pretty much write his own job description, whether it’s eventually taking the leap as a big-league manager, focusing on broadcasting or pursuing more crossover opportunities in the sports/entertainment worlds.
Ross already has built-in relationships in the clubhouse from his time as Jon Lester’s personal catcher and another kind of big brother to Rizzo. Heyward had been so appreciative of the way Ross looked after him when he came up with the Atlanta Braves that he said thanks by paying for a hotel suite upgrade on the road all last season.
But in terms of new voices and different messages, Maddon and his players will already be working with high-profile new coaches Jim Hickey (pitching) and Chili Davis (hitting) and well-regarded third base coach Brian Butterfield.
The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.
Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.
Check out the entire podcast here:
Remember that one time Sammy Sosa threw out his back while sneezing? Well, Brandon Morrow may have topped that on the Cubs all-time list of wacky injuries.
The 33-year-old closer was placed on the 10-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game after hurting his back while taking his pants off upon returning from the team's road trip to St. Louis. It's being labeled as "lower back tightness."
"It's frustrating any time you can't get out there, and especially when you can't go because of something stupid like taking your pants off," Morrow told reporters on Tuesday.
And that's put the Cubs pitching staff in a tough spot for the rest of the week, given Wednesday's series finale against the Dodgers is the third game in a little more than 24 hours for the Cubs.
"I don't want to downplay anything," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "Obviously he had back spams, he had the same thing in spring training. We'll start treating it the same way we did in spring training; I think he was out about a week to 10 days. If things go as we hope, I think it'd be the kind of thing where he'd probably be able to be throwing before the 10 days is up.
"But we felt like it wasn't going to be something where he was ready this weekend and if he's not going to be ready all weekend, we can already backdate it three days so it made sense to put him on the DL."
Morrow is tied for fifth in the National League with 16 saves and owns a 1.59 ERA is 26 relief appearances this season. Justin Hancock, who served as the 26th man during Tuesday's doubleheader, stayed with the team as a result.