Anthony Rizzo praises Cubs rookie manager David Ross

Rizzo said Ross has stayed very “even keel” during the ups and downs of the season.

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Anthony Rizzo had high praise for new Cubs manager David Ross on Sunday.

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Anthony Rizzo said David Ross has been “unbelievable” in his first season managing the Cubs.

“The way he communicates, and the way when he does get animated or fired up, it’s all in the right way,” Rizzo said before the Cubs’ 7-3 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday night. “Continuing to just watch him from afar even in the dugout or on the bench, how he handles things, and all new situations wondering how he’s going to handle this . . . like any new manager, but obviously I pay a lot more attention because of our history.”

Ross was hired to provide a different kind of voice and vibe after Joe Maddon was let go following the disappointing 2019 season. Rizzo said Ross has stayed very “even keel” during the ups and downs of the season, which he values.

“That’s, as a player, something that I know I personally appreciate,” Rizzo said.

Bryant the DH

Kris Bryant was the Cubs’ designated hitter for the seventh time in his career and the second this year. Ross said David Bote has been playing a “really good” third base and liked the matchup for him Sunday.

Bryant went 2-for-4 (double, two strikeouts) from the two-hole. Ross said he likes Bryant’s approach since returning to the lineup Sept. 1.

“I like that you’re starting to see the ball fly to the middle of the field a little more, which is always a positive I think with him,” Ross said. “He can hit the ball out of any part of a ballpark, so when you start to see flashes of deep fly balls to center, it reminds me a lot of when I first saw him come up.”

Farewell to Souza

Steven Souza Jr. was designated for assignment Saturday. Brought in to provide outfield depth and to hit left-handed pitching, the veteran Souza was 4-for-27 with one homer and five RBI. The recent additions of right-handed hitters Cameron Maybin and Jose Martinez might have foreshadowed the decision on Souza.

However, it sounds like it was tough for Ross to have the conversation with Souza when the Cubs made the move.

“It’s such a short season. It doesn’t even define who he is, to be honest,” Ross said. “You can’t define somebody on 30 at-bats with an injury in between. It’s terrible. It’s not fun at all. You don’t know when the last time something like that . . . ends somebody’s career. It’s somebody’s livelihood. It’s real stuff. Has a family. It freaking sucks.”

Pitching maneuvers

The Cubs selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Matt Dermody from South Bend. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth Sunday. Dermody, who spent time this year with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters, signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs on Aug. 6.

In 28 career relief appearances entering Sunday, all with the Blue Jays, the 30-year-old Dermody was 2-0 with a 5.33 ERA.

Adbert Alzolay will start Thursday against the Reds. He was optioned to South Bend after the doubleheader Saturday and is not subject to a 10-day waiting period to return because he served as the Cubs’ 29th man.

Righty Tyson Miller also was optioned to South Bend after the doubleheader.

Jose Quintana (left lat inflammation) is nearing the start of a throwing program.

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