Cubs bullpen coach Chris Young tests positive for COVID-19; three players put on COVID list
Right-handers Jason Adam, Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman were put on the COVID-related injured list.
MILWAUKEE — The Cubs were one of the luckier teams when it came to handling COVID-19 last season, but only 10 days into this season, they have not been nearly as fortunate. The Cubs announced Monday that bullpen coach Chris Young tested positive for COVID-19.
The team also announced that right-handers Jason Adam, Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman have been put on the COVID-related injured list. Left-handers Brad Wieck and Justin Steele were called up from the alternate site, and the Cubs selected Pedro Strop as a replacement player from the alternate site.
“We’ve tested every day since Wednesday,” manager David Ross said before the game against the Brewers. “Each test continues to come back, and we assess as we get the information. And [we run] through every protocol, making sure we’re taking every step.
“We’ve over-tested out of lots of caution, just trying to keep everybody safe. If there’s any symptoms that pop up or things that don’t look right, we’re being extra-cautious right now.”
The positive test comes only days after first-base coach Craig Driver tested positive for the virus. Driver did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh because he was “under the weather” before his positive test became official. All three players and Young are isolated from the team in Chicago.
“There’s always that kind of underlying, how big [does this spread]?” Ross said. “We are in our own little world here, and we try to stay in our own little bubble. So, yeah, there’s concern. . . . We’re hoping for the best, but we also plan for the worst. I think that’s just the way you have to have that mindset in this time we’re in right now.”
Young traveled with the team on its flight from Pittsburgh to Chicago on Sunday before the team got the news on Monday.
According to Ross, Monday’s Cubs-Brewers game was never in doubt as every member of the Cubs’ traveling party who was in Milwaukee tested negative.
The Cubs were one of eight teams not to have a player test positive for COVID-19 last season.
“You’re worried about the health and well-being of others,” Ross said. “I think it just hits home every time my phone rings, and it’s one of the doctors or the trainers or Jed [Hoyer]. Your heart sinks, and we’re trying to win ballgames, too, right? I mean, there’s just a lot going on, and everybody understands the world we’re in, and we just want to make sure everybody comes out OK and stays healthy.”
While several teams have been getting 85% of their Tier 1 personnel vaccinated, the Cubs still have not been able to reach that threshold. With two coaches testing positive and three players out for an unknown amount of time, the team still hopes those who have not gotten the vaccine will start to come around.
“I have obviously shared my experience going through COVID and what I dealt with with them,” pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said. ‘‘There’s a lot more people that are in our circles or people who have been around or family members that have had it. So there’s a lot more stories and case studies.”
“We’re definitely hopeful,” Ross said. “We’re hopeful that guys can see the value in being vaccinated and trying to get toward that threshold number, but, again, each guy makes their choices. It’s readily available, and we’re working toward that number as diligently as we can.”