Cubs navigating unique final stretch

When the Cubs return from Pittsburgh on Thursday, they’ll head straight into a Chicago quarantine hotel through the opening round of the playoffs.

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Manager David Ross and the Cubs are heading into a unique final week of the season.

Manager David Ross and the Cubs are heading into a unique final week of the season.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AP

The Cubs are heading into the last week of the regular season, and it will be unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.

When the Cubs return from Pittsburgh on Thursday, they’ll head straight into a Chicago quarantine hotel through the opening round of the playoffs. Presumably, they’ve already been packing in preparation for the bubble and handling logistical issues and family concerns that come with this unusual postseason.

“This is definitely a different week than I’ve ever been a part of,” manager David Ross said.

Of course, this season has been different than any other. For one, there were concerns that COVID-19 would make it impossible for a schedule to be completed, even with the stringent protocols that were put in place.

But general manager Jed Hoyer was somewhat hesitant to celebrate the forthcoming completion of the regular season just yet, saying it’s “probably not something I should comment on for another week.”

“We’re in a good position to get through this, and I think a lot of people have jumped through a lot of hoops and done a lot of things to make sure that was the case,” Hoyer said. “A lot of people have altered their lives. I’m not putting professional athletes above anyone. I think everyone in this environment today in this day and age is doing the same things, but I do feel like it is kind of onerous for our players, and they’ve kind of had to sacrifice for the good of the team, and the rest of the league has, as well.”

The next sacrifice would mean spending a long postseason run in a bubble, similar to what the NBA, NHL and WNBA have experienced.

“Obviously, it’s one of those things you go in and you hope you’re doing this for a long time,” Hoyer said. “You hope you’re in this quarantine or this bubble for a long time. Of course, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s a worthwhile one. Everyone’s just been kind of getting ready.”

More for Lester?

The Cubs hold a $25 million option for Jon Lester, and Hoyer said any contract talks with the veteran left-hander aren’t “front of mind” at this point. But Hoyer said the Cubs aren’t closing the door on Lester’s Wrigley career.

“I’m sure we’ll have discussions at some point this winter,” Hoyer said, “but there’s no reason to talk about it.”

Lester is nearing the end of the six-year, $155 million contract he signed in 2014. Clearly, the Cubs think they’ve gotten their money’s worth from Lester, whose arrival signaled a transition from rebuilding to contention.

“It’s been an incredible contract,” Hoyer said. “He’s just been such an amazing contributor for us, a leader and teammate. He’s been fantastic. This is exactly what we wanted when we signed him. He’s given us everything we hoped for.”

This and that

Tyler Chatwood (strained right forearm) threw from 105 feet Saturday.

Hoyer said Chatwood is hopeful he can contribute if the Cubs have a long playoff run.

• The Cubs submitted a preliminary 40-man playoff roster Sunday before it will be finalized and announced Wednesday.

• Infielder/outfielder Jose Martinez was recalled from South Bend. Reliever Josh Osich was optioned.

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