Pedro Strop — no apology necessary? — could be back in Cubs camp on Tuesday
It’s hard to believe Strop failed to realize he was violating COVID-19 protocols when he broke bread with Indians repeat offender Franmil Reyes and others, but his manager says he’s OK.
One of the best and most beloved Cubs relievers of recent vintage put his reputation at risk by violating COVID-19 protocols with an indoor dinner heard ’round the Cactus League.
But Pedro Strop doesn’t owe his teammates an apology, manager David Ross said.
“He hasn’t done anything to the team,” Ross said. “If anything, he has only affected himself.”
On that front, Strop, after testing negative for the coronavirus, could be back in camp as soon as Tuesday. The right-hander, 35, will attempt to resume a difficult climb back to the majors with the team for whom he pitched from 2013 until a rough 2019. Losing days in pursuit of that goal can’t possibly help his cause.
Did Strop realize he was violating protocols Friday when he broke bread with Indians repeat offender Franmil Reyes and others? It’s hard to believe otherwise, given he was in baseball — not to mention on Planet Earth — in 2020.
Did someone actually think it was a good idea to put up the since-deleted social media post of the dinner scene? That’s an absurd topic for another day — or, better yet, never.
Hack, don’t slack
Consider this a nutshell’s nutshell of the Cubs’ offensive approach: You don’t have to take a bunch of pitches to get the timing of your swing in sync. If it suits you, swing early, swing often and get yourself right that way. Most important, let’s not all try to be the same hitter.
If this sounds different from what the Cubs have emphasized the last couple of years, that’s because it is.
“I don’t want Jason Heyward to be Javy Baez or Javy Baez to be Anthony Rizzo,” Ross said. “I want all these guys to be themselves.”
Less emphasis on working counts and more emphasis on being aggressive? It might be just crazy enough to work.
“Continue to be themselves, find their identity, find where their comfort zone is,” Ross said, “and then we’ll mesh together as a team that way, rather than everybody trying to be one person.”
If you’re waiting to see outfielder Jake Marisnick, better get comfortable. Marisnick, working back from a strained calf, took batting practice Sunday and was hoping to get out on the basepaths and run around some next. But playing in a game? Maybe this weekend, and that’s best-case.
CUBS 9, RANGERS 0
So far, so good
No. 27 in your programs, No. 1 in your hearts?
We’re talking Zach Davies, people. In his second spring start, he went three scoreless, hitless innings, walking one and seemingly expending less effort and energy than he did while driving to Sloan Park. That puts him at five scoreless, hitless innings as a Cub.
Not that any of those innings actually count. Still, can he just go ahead and pitch like this all the time?
Hello, Javy, and goodbye
The goal this spring is for shortstop Javy Baez to be confident and aggressive at the plate — easier said than done after his 2000 struggles — so there was a lot to be said for the three-run bomb he hit off righty Sam Gavglio.
Such as: It was really loud, the kind of loud you don’t often hear. went really far, clearing the center-field fence and landing halfway up the grassy hill. And confidence? Baez took his time watching it fly, let’s put it that way.
It’s getting old already
Is Nico Hoerner simply unwilling to share headlines with his teammates? Could be a developing problem after he added two more hits, one a ground rule double, to raise his spring average to .692 (9 for 13).
Serious, just hand him the keys to second base right now and call it a day.
We heard that
Infielder David Bote offered Marquee announcers an in-game comment on fans returning to Wrigley Field: “If you get a big inning going, things can unravel fast at Wrigley for an opposing pitcher. … That place is shaking, and then it starts snowballing. It’s really fun to be in that environment. That’s going to make a big difference.”
Athletics at Cubs, 2:05 p.m. Tuesday, Marquee, Cole Irvin vs. Trevor Williams.