Miami Marlins

Why Kris Bryant is 'glad' Cubs were 'overly cautious' with his stomach issues

Why Kris Bryant is 'glad' Cubs were 'overly cautious' with his stomach issues

Kris Bryant wasn’t worried about COVID-19 when he consulted the Cubs medical staff before the Cubs’ game Saturday.

“I was looking for some relief of a symptom that I had,” Bryant said. “I didn’t even think anything twice of it. But considering what is going on around the league and how serious this thing escalates, our team doctor thought it was appropriate to just be overly cautious with it.”

Bryant returned to the Cubs lineup Monday for the team’s series opener against the Royals. He sat out for two games against the Pirates as he went through MLB’s protocols for players with possible symptoms of COVID-19. Both his regularly scheduled diagnostic tests and expedited tests were negative.

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“I had no clue that this is what would happen,” Bryant said, “but I’m glad it did because if I did end up having it, that’s the way to catch it.”

Even after Saturday’s game, Cubs manager David Ross said Bryant “just had a bad stomach.” But Bryant’s absence was the latest example of the team’s commitment to following protocol.

“That’s important,” Cubs MLBPA representative Ian Happ said of reporting symptoms. “We have to applaud guys like that. We have to encourage it. You saw it with the Reds, and they did such a fantastic job -- Moose (Mike Moustakas), (Nick) Senzel, Joey Votto recently -- of reporting symptoms early, of telling guys, ‘Hey, don’t want to alarm anybody, but this is how I feel, and I’m going to stay home today.’

“And that’s the right thing to do. That’s how you keep it out of the clubhouse. And the actions of one guy don’t affect just the team, don’t affect just the city, they affect the entire league. And it’s important to remember the gravity of that.”

In the Cubs’ three-game series in Cincinnati last week, Moustakas and Senzel missed the first two games and reportedly filed an appeal to MLB’s Joint Committee to return for the third after reporting symptoms earlier in the week.

The Reds placed Votto on the injured list Sunday. Votto had self-reported COVID-19 symptoms, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, but had not tested positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday morning.

“It’s just going to keep us on the field,” Bryant said. “With the testing and all that, it seems there is a way for the virus to get in, seeing how its spread with the Marlins and the Cardinals now. Hoping that all those guys are alright.”

The Marlins had at least 21 players and staff members test positive for COVID-19 during an outbreak last week. The Cardinals have had 13 members of the organization test positive in the last week, MLB announced Monday, including seven players.

“If we can add another part to our responsibility,” Bryant said, “in that if you do feel something, just stay away and take it as seriously as possible, that’s the only way that we’re going to get through a World Series. I just think it’s important. Put your pride and egos aside, and it could end up helping the rest of your teammates too.”

With Bryant’s tests coming back negative, the Cubs are believed to be the only team in the National League that hasn’t had a player test positive.



Cubs appoint Vijay Tekchandani as health and safety protocol compliance officer

Cubs appoint Vijay Tekchandani as health and safety protocol compliance officer

The Cubs have named Vijay Tekchandani, director of team travel and clubhouse operation, their compliance officer for the season.

“He’ll have to make sure everyone’s complying (with health and safetly protocols),” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Saturday, “and he’s the perfect demeaner and perfect person for that.”

Hoyer confirmed that this week Major League Baseball asked every team to appoint a compliance officer to oversee the team’s implementation of health and safety protocols. The measure came after a COVID-19 outbreak spread through the Marlins organization. At least 21 Marlins players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, including 18 players.

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Now, the Cardinals have had three games postponed this weekend. Three players and multiple staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the span of days.

“We’ve continued to get memos from the commissioner’s office about these things,” Hoyer said of health and safety protocols. “And a lot of them are based on travel. I think travel has clearly been a struggle so far when you look at the Marlins outbreak and now whatever’s happening in St. Louis.”

According to Hoyer, many of the compliance officers’ responsibilities are related to travel. That aspect of the job also made Tekchandani a natural choice.



How Cubs could be impacted by MLB’s latest 2020-only rule change

How Cubs could be impacted by MLB’s latest 2020-only rule change

MLB made another 2020-only rule change and it could affect the Cubs’ schedule.

Friday, MLB announced an agreement with the players union to shorten doubleheaders to seven innings for the rest of the 2020 regular season, beginning Saturday. 

In wake of the Marlins’ COVID-19 outbreak, the 2020 schedule may feature numerous doubleheaders going forward, should the league attempt to make up every game. Miami and the Phillies haven’t played since Sunday, and the Marlins games are postponed through this week. Philadelphia — originally slated to return Saturday — canceled all team activities at Citizens Bank Park Thursday “until further notice.”

The Cardinals game against the Brewers Friday was postponed due to two positive COVID-19 tests and now is scheduled for a doubleheader on Sunday.

With doubleheaders necessary to complete as many games as possible, shortening them to seven innings will reduce some wear and tear on pitchers. 

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The Cubs had their first game postponed Thursday due to inclement weather in Cincinnati. They have a mutual day off with the Reds on Aug. 10, with the Cubs then playing in Cleveland Aug. 11-12 while Cincinnati opens a six-game homestand.

Thursday’s game could be made up Aug. 10, but it’s also both teams’ first day off of the season. Therefore, MLB could elect to schedule a doubleheader the weekend of Aug. 28-30, when the Cubs return to Great American Ballpark.

As of Thursday, no makeup date for the rainout has been announced.

MLB has instituted numerous 2020-only rule changes, including starting all extra innings with a runner on second base, expanded rosters and regionalized schedules. If a doubleheader game eclipses seven innings, a runner will be placed on second base from the eighth inning onward.