Cubs’ COVID outbreak continues to spread as Tommy Nance lands on IL

The Cubs selected right-hander Joe Biagini from Triple-A Iowa to replace Nance on the roster.

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Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

ST. LOUIS — The Cubs’ long week continued on Saturday as the team’s latest COVID outbreak raged for a fourth consecutive day. The team put right-hander Tommy Nance on the injured list before the game Saturday against the Cardinals.

Nance joins a long list of players who have been affected by the team’s current outbreak. Infielders David Bote, Patrick Wisdom, outfielder Nick Martini and catcher Austin Romine also were placed on the injured list with no injury designation this week.

“Just hoping [head athletic trainer] PJ [Mainville] doesn’t call my cell phone,” manager David Ross said. “Like I said yesterday, you’re holding your breath. . . . Thank goodness he feels OK.”

While the team hasn’t announced officially that any of the players have tested positive for the virus, the only “injured list” that opens up a spot on the 40-man roster is the COVID-related IL, on which all five have been placed. 

At least one of the players has tested positive.

The team selected Joe Biagini from Triple-A Iowa. Biagini had been on the current road trip as a member of the five-man taxi squad. The Cubs’ right-hander was 3-8 with a 5.50 ERA this season in Des Moines.

“We’re trying to get to tomorrow and through tomorrow and try to win the two games in between and get into next year,” Ross said. “Try to learn where we can be better, and try to deal with the circumstances that next year is going to present.”

Happ wins it with ninth-inning homer

The Cubs were up against a wall in the ninth inning trailing the Cardinals 5-4. But Ian Happ wouldn’t let go down without a fight. With the tying run on first base, Happ crushed a game-winning two-run blast to center field to give the Cubs the 6-5 victory. The 451-foot homer was Happ’s 25th homer of the season — a new career high.

“Resiliency is a great word,” Ross said. “Mental toughness. When you have to kind of dig yourself out of the hole that he was in early on. The consistency of the attitude stands out to me on a daily basis.”

Contreras leaves game with hip injury

Catcher Willson Contreras left the game after the third inning with right hip tightness. As Contreras jogged off the field, he gestured toward the dugout, signaling that he would need to come out of the game.

Contreras has been bothered by lower-body injuries for a while, and he has had to be checked on by Ross and Mainville several times in the last week during games, including the loss Friday. He has been wearing a brace on his right knee since coming back from a right knee sprain in September.

Catcher Erick Castillo replaced Contreras behind the plate.

Cubs tie major-league roster record

With infielder Tyler Ladendorf pinch-hitting in the fifth, the Cubs tied the MLB record for players used in a season with 67. The Mariners set the record in 2019. The Cubs could break the record with one game left. 

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