As COVID-19 vaccines continue to get rolled out and local jurisdictions expand vaccination eligibility, teams around MLB, including the Cubs, already have begun getting vaccinated.
On Tuesday, MLB informed the players association that if 85% of a team’s Tier 1 personnel get vaccinated, health and safety protocols for the entire tier will be loosened. Individual protocols for those vaccinated also would be relaxed.
President Jed Hoyer said Wednesday that several members of the organization already had begun the vaccination process, and while the goal is to be as safe as possible, the team is not forcing players to get vaccinated. Manager David Ross made sure to reiterate those sentiments before Thursday’s game.
“I have been vaccinated,” Ross said. “I got vaccinated in Arizona, and I have encouraged the guys to seek out all the information and make the decision for themselves. I think it’s something that we’re trying to get as many guys vaccinated as we possibly can, but at the end of the day it’s their choice and I’ve kind of left it up to them. But I just want them to be informed. Our doctors have been great and have given as much information to anybody that wants it.”
“We’ll continue to push towards that [85%] number for sure. I know there’s some nice things MLB’s put in place that we can kind of loosen the reins in some areas if we get to that number. So that would be nice, but again, it is an individual choice and I respect these guys’ decisions.”
While there has been early optimism about player vaccinations in MLB, there have still been some issues. Thursday’s Nationals-Mets game was postponed after three Washington players tested positive for COVID-19 and contact tracing connected other members of the organization as close contacts.
“I think that’s a personal decision, a family decision,” right fielder Jason Heyward said. “A lot of people with kids have gotten them. I definitely understand that but also understand the people that haven’t. It’s definitely a personal choice and by no means if someone doesn’t get it, does that mean that you’re not going to do everything you can in your power to be safe and keep others safe around you.”
Holder, Wick, Romine put on IL
The Cubs put right-handers Jonathan Holder (right shoulder strain) and Rowan Wick (left oblique strain) and catcher Austin Romine (right knee sprain) on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to March 29.
While the timeline for Romine and Holder are unknown, Wick’s significant progress over the last month has increased the belief that he will return sooner rather than later. Wick, 28, threw a 25-pitch bullpen last week and could transition into facing hitters at the team’s alternate site in South Bend, Indiana.