MESA, Ariz. — Cubs union representative Kris Bryant said that while the most recent correspondence with the Major League Baseball Players Association regarding the coronavirus has dealt with spring training, clarification regarding the regular season could come soon.
“It should be here soon [because] we’re getting close, a couple of weeks away,” Bryant said. “I guess it’s all new to us right now or new to me experiencing this and seeing what [a modified interview setting] is all about. It is very strange. But it’s something we’re going to have to talk about and take seriously.”
The MLB schedule kicks off March 26 with 15 games, including the Cubs’ visit to Milwaukee to play the Brewers.
Speculation already has centered around changes such as a delay to the start of the season, games with no fans in attendance, games at spring-training sites to open the season and games moved to areas of the country in which the coronavirus has not been as much of a threat.
The Mariners already have been forced to move seven games after the state of Washington decided to ban large group events through the end of March.
The Mariners had a four-game home series scheduled against the Rangers (April 26-29) and a three-game series against the Twins (March 30-April 1).
“It’s people’s safety and health; that’s the most important thing,” Bryant said. “If we can find a way to not put people in jeopardy, that’s what I’m all for. People’s lives mean more to me than the game of baseball.”
The Cubs are scheduled to play their home opener March 30 against the Pirates.
More starting decisions
The Cubs’ Opening Day starter isn’t the only rotation matter in limbo. Tyler Chatwood not only seems to have sewn up the No. 5 spot, but the way the staff is lining up, he could actually be the No. 4 starter to begin the season.
Manager David Ross indicated that Jon Lester was out of the running for Opening Day. If right-handers Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks pitch the first two games, Lester would pitch the third game followed by Jose Quintana in the home opener.
But Ross might prefer to separate his two lefties, giving Chatwood the home opener with Quintana making his season debut April 1 against the Pirates before the rotation turns over again.
Just in case
Javy Baez will get most of the playing time at shortstop, while Anthony Rizzo figures to do the same at first base, but Ross still was considering options for a handful of days off at those spots for the starters.
At short, Ross said that Nico Hoerner is an option to get innings if he makes the team, while Hernan Perez could do the job, as well. He even said Bryant has looked comfortable in that area of the infield during defensive shifts.
At first base, Victor Caratini and Bryant could pick up some innings. David Bote is only being considered at third base and second base.