PITTSBURGH — As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be rolled out around the country, teams across MLB have been slowly getting players vaccinated. MLB has incentivized teams for having Tier 1 personnel (players, coaches, trainers, front office) vaccinated. If a team reaches 85% in the tier, MLB will loosen its protocols.
Several teams already have met that threshold, but the Cubs haven’t. Players at the team’s complex in Mesa, Arizona, and alternate site in South Bend, Indiana, also are considered Tier 1 and can receive the vaccine if they want.
“When we get there, that’ll definitely help things, for sure,” manager David Ross said. “There’s a lot of things that we can loosen the reins on, according to MLB protocols. But we got to get to that. That’s definitely something we’re working towards.
“You’re trying to get all these guys vaccinated. They’re making progress daily, to be honest. The number is moving up, and I know we’re getting closer. I have a percentage in my head, but I’ll keep that [number] in house for now.”
While some players have received the vaccine, the team has continued to emphasize that the decision is a personal choice. Only shortstop Javy Baez has spoken publicly about getting the vaccine.
“I decided to get it,” Baez said Monday. “Me and my family, we decided to get it. It’s optional to the people who want it. A lot of people believe in it. A lot of people don’t believe in it. I think a lot of people should try it. Obviously, we want the best for everybody. I got my first shot, so we’ll see how it goes with the second one.”
Arrieta gets second win, quality start
It wasn’t Jake Arrieta’s best day at the yard, but he continued to do what he did in his first start of the season: keep the Cubs in the game.
There was plenty of traffic on the bases as Arrieta struggled to command his sinker and the Pirates found ways to put the ball in play.
But the 35-year-old right-hander didn’t let things spiral, and after allowing two runs in the fourth inning, he settled in and gave the offense time to score some runs.
“It’s only gonna get better,” Arrieta said. “Curveball was touch-and-go. Cutter was really good when I needed it. Big strikeout to Colin Moran with runners at first and third in a pivotal situation in the game. It just comes down to executing when you have to. Regardless of, ‘Do I have a pitch or not?’ I’m still gonna use it.”
Arrieta battled for six innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. He walked three and struck out four as he earned his second win of the season.